Uncontested divorce in Maryland – what it is and how it works

Uncontested divorce in Maryland – what it is and how it works

For as much press coverage as high-profile, hotly-contested divorce cases get in the media, the surprising fact is that the majority of divorces in America end quietly in uncontested divorces.  Simple and inexpensive, this option allows spouses to end their marriage with dignity and without all the stress and expense of a drawn out legal battle.

Basics of uncontested divorce

In an uncontested divorce, the two parties agree to the fundamentals of the divorce, allowing the matter to be settled in court with or without the assistance of a divorce attorney.  However, having legal counsel is always a good idea in any divorce situation, and fortunately the average legal fees for uncontested divorce attorneys are significantly lower than for traditional, contested divorce proceedings, largely because the amount of time and preparation is much lower when there are no issues in contention.

When the parties have reached a fair and equitable agreement, the divorce is almost guaranteed to be approved by the court.  This means that discussions between the parties can remain amicable and non-adversarial, as the court does not need to oversee all stages of negotiation.  Simple divorces are usually inexpensive and collaborative, utilizing mediation services, which still being considered uncontested.  Sometimes, however, the court may have to step in when disputes over property or child custody take too long to reach an agreement.

Uncontested Divorces in Maryland

To file for divorce in Maryland, one of the spouses must have lived in Maryland for a least a year if the grounds for divorce occurred outside of Maryland. However, if the grounds for divorce arose in Maryland, either spouse may file in the court in the court where either spouse lives. Residency and time requirements may vary depending on the grounds for divorce and where each spouse lives, so consulting with Law Firm of Annapolis may be necessary to determine where and when, you can file for divorce.

Common no-fault grounds for divorce in Maryland include, 1) a one-year voluntary and mutual separation “without interruption and cohabitation and there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation,” or 2) a two-year separation “without cohabitation or sexual relations.”

No Fault Divorces

Uncontested divorces are often no-fault divorces, which require no showing of wrong doing by either party to proceed with the divorce and dissolution of the marriage. Also, there are no evidentiary proceedings.

While uncontested and no-fault divorces have made divorce much easier in America than the historical precedent, there are still many rules and laws that are meant to protect divorcing parties, so speaking with a divorce attorney before proceeding is still in your best interest.