Baltimore Law Firm Handles Family Law Matters
Maryland Family Lawyers Provide Compassionate Legal Representation
A divorce is one of the most painful things a family can go through. If you are struggling with a family law issue like divorce, Collins Legal Group, LLC, will treat you like family and help you navigate your way through this often-stressful time.
Divorce in Maryland
Divorce is the legal ending of a marriage. Both limited and absolute divorces are legal in Maryland. A limited divorce is not permanent, but it legalizes the separation of the spouses and allows for spousal support. An absolute divorce is permanent and terminates the marriage.
- Grounds. No-fault and at-fault are the two bases for divorce in the U.S. Maryland allows the parties to select either a no-fault or a fault divorce, and there are multiple grounds within each category: At fault – adultery, cruelty of treatment/excessively vicious conduct, abuse, desertion, conviction of crime, and insanity. No-fault – mutual consent and 12-month separation.
- Alimony Also known as spousal support, alimony is typically a monthly financial allowance paid by one spouse to another to balance the unfair economic impact of a divorce by providing a steady income to a spouse who is not employed or earns a lower salary than the other spouse. Alimony can be based on a settlement agreement between the parties or can be awarded by a judge. In Maryland, alimony will usually end upon remarriage of the recipient spouse. Support awards can be later modified by petitioning the court if one or both of the parties’ circumstances change.
- Child custody. When the parents have a minor child, the divorce order will stipulate who retains physical custody of the child and which parent has legal custody. The party with physical custody will determine where and with whom the child lives, while the parent with legal custody has the legal right to make important decisions concerning the child relating to education, religion, medical care, and discipline. If the spouses are unable to reach an agreement regarding child custody, Maryland courts will intervene and establish custody arrangements based upon the best interests of the child. If one parent receives physical custody of the child, the other parent will be given visitation rights. The parents can also agree to share custody of the child.
- Child support. Maryland uses a formula called the Child Support Guidelines to calculate child support, and courts commonly order child support based upon those guidelines unless a party can show that doing so would be unjust or inappropriate. Generally, the custodial parent (the one who has primary physical custody of the child) receives the support, and the non-custodial parent pays it, although this can be modified according to each parent’s income and whether they share physical custody. When calculating child support, the factors considered include each parent’s income, work-related childcare expenses, health insurance costs, and any extraordinary medical expenses. The party requesting child support will be required to submit a financial statement to the court so that a fair decision can be made.