Contested Divorce in Maryland – What Is It & What Should I Do?

Zide Law Group

Are you getting a divorce in Maryland? 

The top 10 stressful life situations, according to polls, were listed in a chart that appeared in the Indianapolis 100. After the loss of a spouse, it turned out that divorce is the second-most stressful event. The other 8 are shown in the following graph.

Divorce is a stressful time

 Source: Statista

Since divorce in Maryland is a complicated procedure overall, it can be emotionally, mentally, and financially stressful. All Maryland divorce lawyers concur that disputed divorces are far more difficult than uncontested divorces.

Here, we will consider the intricacies involved and the favors you can do yourself in the process.

What Is a Contested Divorce in Maryland?

Couples who are unable to agree on the conditions of their divorce experience contested divorces. Actually, disputed divorces are more frequent than uncontested divorces, which frequently results in litigation.

Some important decisions a judge makes during the course of an contested divorce include:

What Is an Uncontested Divorce?

The opposite of a disputed divorce is an uncontested divorce. But just because something is uncontested doesn't imply there aren't any disagreements; it only means that both parties have reached a consensus. Keep in mind that there is no legal requirement that the agreement be advantageous to both parties.

Having said that, it is important that you get the help of a divorce attorney and that will not only protect your rights, but guide you through the process.

What Do I Do in Case of a Contested Divorce?

Couples have a variety of choices available to them besides taking their contentious divorce to court. This will entail using a mediator to settle the dispute(s) outside of court. These are neutral third parties who have been employed by both of you and paid for by either one of you, as agreed upon.

However, if mediation isn’t working for you, you can go to court as well. Here is what you should do when faced with a contested divorce in Maryland.

Before Trial

If there is no option left other than taking your divorce to court, the first aspect to consider includes the legal fee. These expenses can vary greatly depending on several key factors:

  • The sheer number and nature of issues involved
  • Court fees. The bare minimum that you might have to pay will be the filing fee. In Maryland, this is about $215 but can vary from county to county as well. When you pay a divorce attorney their fee, they usually also include this fee in the initial retainer.
  • Attorney fees. Again, this can vary from attorney to attorney. We would recommend that you get in touch with us, no matter your budget for a quick quote. We’ll help you get the best possible representation in your hour of need in the most wallet-friendly manner.
  • Costs associated with rulings. Whether it’s child support, property division, alimony, or a blend of it all, these costs can be rather significant and have known to have a severe impact on individuals.

The preparation necessary to make you ready for the trial follows. Together with your lawyer, you will work on this to compile all the evidence you'll need to support your position. This could, but need not, be restricted to

  1. Preparing you for cross examination, i.e., questions that your spouse’s divorce lawyer may ask you.
  2. Collecting bank statements, bills, mortgage, business records, contributions and agreements made, conversations and chats, or anything else that may prove that you are on the right side in a given argument.
  3. Your attorney will sift through case laws with respect to your position to try and identify prior precedents in your favor
  4. Preparing your children, if any, for the proceedings
  5. Discovery, i.e., looking for more evidence or facts that may ‘compel the court for further discovery’

Remember, just because you are in court doesn’t mean that there isn’t a chance to settle prior to litigation. In fact, in many cases, judges may even ask the counsel (lawyers) if they have managed to come to an agreement.

During all of this, a complaint is filed by you or your spouse. Whoever files the complaint is known as the “plaintiff” while the other party is known as the “defendant”.

The Contested Divorce Trial Process

Before the trial process begins, the validity of the complaint is determined. Requirements for validity include:

  • The plaintiff must have lived in Maryland for no less than twelve (12) months prior to the filing
  • The complaint must state
    • the date and place of marriage
    • the original name of both parties
    • name and birth dates of minor children, if any
  • Claim of statutory grounds for divorce

The defendant must be served with the divorce papers by the plaintiff. The divorce lawyer frequently serves these documents on behalf of their client.

After then, the defendant must provide an answer to the plaintiff or the lawyer in Maryland, in which they must either admit or deny the accusations. Additionally, this is where counterclaims are made. The spouses could yet come to a mutual understanding at this stage.

The parties will then have a date in court where they must present. Typically, the lawyers assist in obtaining this date because you are already under a lot of stress. The ability to present witnesses in court will be available to both sides.

The court then oversees every aspect of the case before reaching a conclusion. You can challenge this judgment. Otherwise, regardless of the choice, it is legally binding for both parties.

Finding the Best Divorce Lawyers in Maryland

At Zide Law Group, we are a compassionate group that understands the emotional rollercoaster you are on right now and therefore do whatever we can to make your legal situation better. It is our pledge to give you a personalized strategy to navigate this tricky situation.

For legal help regarding uncontested and contested divorce in Maryland, we recommend you contact our Glen Burnie office and discuss options. Whether you need representation or just advice, we’re here to help!

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