Maryland

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The Cordell & Cordell law firm serves men and fathers going through divorce in Maryland with offices in Annapolis, Baltimore and Belcamp. Our men’s divorce attorneys handle divorce, child custody, paternity, modification, and other fathers rights issues in Maryland.

Cordell & Cordell’s Maryland family law attorneys are committed to delivering the best result possible and have a comprehensive understanding of divorce laws in Maryland. We are a partner men can count on.

To schedule an appointment, call 1-866-DADS-LAW or the numbers listed to the right to your local office.

Maryland Divorce FAQ

What are the grounds for divorce?

There are two types of divorce in Maryland: limited divorce (a divorce a mensa et throro) and absolute divorce (a divorce a vincula matrimonii). A limited divorce constitutes permission to live separate and apart. The primary difference between the two is that you can only remarry after obtaining an Absolute Divorce. Grounds for both types of divorce in Maryland are determined by statute. Grounds for a Limited Divorce:
  1. Cruelty of treatment of the complaining party or a minor child of the complaining party.
  2. Excessively vicious conduct to the complaining party or of a minor child of the complaining party.
  3. Desertion.
  4. Voluntary separation, if the parties are living separate and apart with no reasonable expectation of reconciliation.
Grounds for an Absolute Divorce:
  1. Adultery.
  2. Desertion, if the desertion has continued for at least 12 months without interruption before the filing of the complaint for an absolute divorce; the desertion is deliberate and final; and there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation.
  3. 12-month separation, when the parties have lived separated and apart without cohabitation for 12 months without interruption before the filing of the application for divorce.
  4. Cruelty of treatment toward the complaining party or a minor child of the complaining party, if there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation.
  5. Excessively vicious conduct toward the complaining party or a minor child of the complaining party, if there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation.
  6. Conviction of felony or misdemeanor. Defendant has been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor, and has been sentenced to serve at least three years or an indeterminate sentence in a penal institution and has served twelve months of the sentence prior to complaint for divorce.
  7. Insanity, where the insane spouse has been confined for at least three years before filing complaint. The complaining party will have to provide proof of incurable insanity without hope of recovery from the testimony of two psychiatrists. Also, one of the parties has to have been a resident of Maryland for at least two years prior to filing complaint.

Can I get maintenance or will I have to provide maintenance to my spouse?

Whether or not maintenance, or alimony, will be awarded to either party in a given case will depend on the specific facts of each case. The court uses a specific set of factors in determining alimony. It is important to note that alimony in Maryland can be classified in three different groups: pendente lite alimony, statutory alimony, and indefinite alimony. Alimony pendente lite is alimony awarded to a dependent spouse that is only meant to continue for the duration of the case, until a final order is entered. The purpose of pendente lite alimony is to maintain the status quo between the parties as much as possible. Statutory alimony is awarded to a dependent spouse, the amount and duration of which is determined by a list of factors that the court considers. In Maryland, the primary purpose of alimony is to be “rehabilitative” in nature, allowing a dependent spouse time to reach a point where they may become self-supporting.  “Rehabilitative” alimony is temporary in nature and is typically awarded for a set period of time. Indefinite alimony is the exception to the rule of statutory alimony. It may only be awarded if the court makes one of two specific findings regarding the dependent spouse.

When is my case going to be over?

The length of a case for divorce depends on the complexity of the matter and the jurisdiction in which it is being heard. For instance, an uncontested divorce where the parties have agreed to all issues and the Complaint and Answer were filed contemporaneously, may take as little as two months. Most cases do not move so quickly. Not finding the answer you are looking for? Browse our entire Maryland Divorce FAQ.

Maryland Child Custody Questions

What is joint custody? What is sole custody?

There are two types of custody in Maryland: legal custody and physical custody. The parties can jointly hold legal custody, or one party may be given sole legal custody of the child. Legal custody is the right to make major life decisions for a minor child, such as education, major medical treatment, and religious affiliation. If both parents have joint legal custody, they both share that decision making right. It should be granted in a scenario where both parents are willing and able to effectively communicate with each other about decisions regarding their child.  In sole legal custody, the party granted the same is the decision-maker for the child. Physical custody can be either shared physical custody or sole physical custody to one parent with visitation to the other. Sole custody involves one parent having physical custody of the child or children. The other parent, or “non-custodial” parent, only exercises physical custody over the child when visitation rights are involved. In order for physical custody to be shared, both parties have at least a minimum of 128 overnight visitations (or 35% of the year) and both contribute to the expenses of the child in addition to any award of child support.

How is child support determined in Maryland?

Child support is determined by a mathematical calculation set forth by statute.  This calculation process is performed by applying the child support guidelines. It is mandatory in Maryland that in every case where child support is involved, that legislatively mandated child support guidelines be used. The guidelines use several factors to calculate support, including, but not limited to:
  • Gross income of each party;
  • Alimony paid or received in this case;
  • Alimony paid in a separate case;
  • Child support paid in a separate case;
  • Who has the physical custody of the child(ren);
  • If physical custody is shared, the number of over-nights each parent has; and
  • The cost of the child(ren)’s health insurance, day care, and/or extra-ordinary medical costs.

When will child custody be decided?

An order regarding custody can be made in several ways and at different times in the process. Depending on the course of the case, temporary awards of custody could be made at an Emergency Hearing, the Scheduling Conference, a Pendente Lite Hearing, or any other Court appearance. The final decision regarding custody will be made at the final trial or hearing. Important things to note:
  • Custody is modifiable.
  • If the parties can reach an agreement regarding custody, the court is most likely going to accept that agreement and incorporate it into any final order.
  • A temporary determination of custody could be made during an action for a Protective Order.
Not finding the answer you are looking for? Browse our entire Maryland Child Custody FAQ.