The end of a marriage is often coupled with emotional stress and anger. There are also financial and legal ramifications that each spouse might not have fully considered. It is essential to have our experienced Bethesda, MD divorce attorney protecting your rights if you are filing for divorce or have been served a divorce complaint. When a judge makes a ruling regarding the division of marital property or child custody, you want to ensure your interests are represented.
The attorneys and staff at Rice, Murtha & Psoras have been providing professional and compassionate representation to Bethesda residents struggling through the end of their marriage for over twenty years. We are sympathetic to your situation but understand that you deserve vigorous legal assistance. Call (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free, confidential appointment.
Types of Marriages that Qualify for Divorce in Bethesda, MD
In Maryland, your marriage could be declared invalid, void, or voidable. If your marriage was determined to be voidable, you could be granted an annulment instead of a divorce.
Some marriages in Bethesda are void, meaning they were never legally valid. For example, if your spouse was married to another person, they were incompetent at the time of the ceremony, or they are a close relation that makes marriage impermissible. These types of situations are usually rare.
Some cases involve factors that render a normally valid marriage voidable. For instance, if your spouse is incapable of consummating the marriage through sexual intercourse, you were forced to consent to the union, or the ceremony was performed by someone who lacked authority to do so, your marriage could be legally annulled. Only the injured party can petition the court to render the marriage invalid. If you believe your union is voidable, contact our Bethesda divorce attorney to review the facts of your case. It is important to understand that even in the case of a marriage annulment, the court will consider the individual property rights of the parties. Additionally, if there are children involved, child custody and support will be resolved. It is also possible that a judge would award spousal support, depending on the facts of your case.
Grounds for Divorce of a Valid Marriage in Bethesda, MD
Nearly every marriage in Bethesda is a valid one, meaning that the parties agreed to the marriage and there were no other circumstances that rendered the marriage invalid. If you are seeking a divorce from a valid marriage, you must be able to prove one of a number of specific reasons, or grounds.
Proving adultery can be difficult. While you are not required to establish that sexual intercourse occurred, you must be able to demonstrate that your spouse had the disposition and opportunity to commit adultery. An accusation is not sufficient. Typically, prove includes emails, texts, phone messages, or witness testimony.
Deliberately leaving the marital home is grounds for divorce. However, the duration of the desertion must last at least one uninterrupted year. Additionally, there must be no chance of reconciliation. Desertion could also be constructive. Constructive desertion occurs when your spouse’s behavior forces you to vacate the marital home.
Cruel or Excessively Vicious Behavior
If your spouse’s conduct towards you, or a minor child, is cruel or excessively vicious, you are entitled to file for a divorce. The behavior could be a one-time occurrence if your spouse intended bodily harm. It could also be mental in nature.
A conviction of a felony or misdemeanor could be grounds for a divorce. Your spouse’s sentence must be at least three years. Furthermore, you are required to wait until they have served at least one full year.
If your spouse has been institutionalized and their condition is incurable, then you are permitted to file for a divorce after three years of confinement. The testimony of two physicians competent in psychiatry is also required. Additionally, either you or your spouse must have been a Maryland resident for two years before filing.
In some marriages, there are no legal grounds for divorce. The couple has just grown apart. In these cases, you must voluntarily separate for one year, maintaining uninterrupted separate households and not engaging in sexual relations, before filing for divorce.
Equitable Distribution of Property in a Bethesda Divorce
Maryland is an equitable distribution state. Equitable distribution does not mean that your marital property will be divided equally between you and your spouse. The court will consider many factors when deciding how the property is split.
Our Bethesda divorce attorney will first determine what property is marital property and what is separate property. First, if you had any gifts, assets, or inheritances that you own before you were married, they are usually considered separate property.
When determining how property should be divided, a Bethesda court will consider many factors including, the length of the marriage, the financial well-being of each spouse, alimony, the grounds for divorce, the age and physical condition of each spouse, and the general standard of living during the marriage. Additionally, the court will consider whether one spouse contributed more during the marriage, for instance, working while their spouse went to school. If children are involved, then custody and support will also factor in the division of marital property.
Call Our Bethesda, MD Divorce Attorney for a Free Consultation
Divorce is a painful process. It is also a legal one. You are not only separating from your spouse, but you are also dividing marital property and dealing with child custody issues if you have children. You should not handle these issues without competent legal help. Our Bethesda, MD divorce attorney provides professional, sympathetic, and, when necessary, aggressive, legal representation for clients. To review your situation and schedule a free consultation with our Maryland family lawyers, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291.