Unfortunately, not every marriage results in a fairytale. Many marriages in Bowie, Maryland end in divorce. When this happens, it could lead to bitterness and anger between the parties. During these emotional times, you need our compassionate, professional, and aggressive Bowie, MD divorce attorney protecting your rights.
While people marry out of love, divorce is a legal proceeding. Without experienced representation, your rights and interests will not be protected. The attorneys and staff at Rice, Murtha & Psoras understand the pain associated with the end of a marriage. By providing sympathetic and professional representation, you can focus on yourself while we focus on the legal process. Call (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
Navigating Divorce in Bowie, MD
Under Maryland law, there are two types of divorce. The first is limited divorce, or a divorce a mensa et throro. When you receive a limited divorce, you are granted legal permission to live separate and apart. The other type of divorce is absolute divorce or a divorce a vincula matrimonii. The significant difference between the two types of divorce is you are only allowed to remarry if you have been granted an absolute divorce.
Grounds for a Limited Divorce
The grounds for obtaining each type of divorce are outlined in Maryland statutes. They differ for each. You can receive a limited if you or a minor child have experienced cruel treatment by the other spouse, including any excessive vicious conduct against you or the child. Additionally, a limited divorce could be granted on the grounds of desertion. And finally, if you have voluntarily separated from your spouse and live apart, you could obtain a limited divorce.
Grounds for an Absolute Divorce
The grounds for an absolute divorce are similar with some notable differences. First, if you are the victim of adultery, you are entitled to an absolute divorce. Desertion is also grounds for an absolute divorce, but it must continue for at least 12 months without an interruption. If you filed for divorce before the 12 months, you would only be eligible for a limited divorce. Additionally, there must be no reasonable expectation or chance of reconciliation. In addition to desertion, if you have voluntarily lived in a separate household from your spouse for 12 consecutive months, you can petition the court for a divorce.
Cruelty and excessive violence against you or a minor child are also grounds for an absolute divorce if it is coupled with no reconciliation expectation.
You could file for an absolute divorce if your spouse was convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony and sentenced to at least three years at a penal institution. However, you must wait at least 12 months into the serving of your spouse’s sentence to file a divorce complaint.
In Maryland, insanity is grounds for an absolute divorce. However, your spouse must be confined in an institution for three years before filing a divorce complaint. Furthermore, our Bowie divorce attorney will have to provide testimony from two certified psychiatrists stating that your spouse’s condition is incurable without any hope of a recovery. Additionally, at least one of the spouses must have been a Maryland resident for two before filing for divorce.
Spousal Maintenance in Bowie, MD
Whether a Bowie court will order alimony or maintenance to either spouse will depend on each situation’s circumstances. Spousal maintenance is categorized into three groups under Maryland law: statutory alimony, indefinite alimony, and pendente lite alimony.
Pendente lite alimony is only awarded for the duration of the pending divorce. Once a court order is entered, finalizing the divorce, the dependent spouse will no longer receive the awarded maintenance.
In Maryland, alimony is supposed to be rehabilitative, allowing the dependent spouse the time and resources to become financially independent of their ex-spouse. Statutory alimony, or rehabilitative alimony, is supposed to be temporary. A Bowie court will award an amount and period based on a number of considerations, including the disparity in income, whether one spouse worked while allowing the other to pursue an education, the ages of the parties, and the marriage length.
The exception to the statutory rule is indefinite alimony. However, a court will only order indefinite alimony under two specific sets of circumstances. First, one spouse is incapable of making substantial progress towards being self-supportive because of their age, disability, or illness. The other case is one spouse has progressed as much as reasonably possible towards self-sufficiency. Still, the difference between the standard of living between the two parties is unconscionably disparate.
Child Custody and Divorce in Bowie, Maryland
Many divorce proceedings involve children. Under Maryland law, custody is separated into legal and physical custody. Depending on the circumstances, a spouse could be granted sole or joint legal custody. If you have legal custody, you have the right to make major life decisions for your minor child, including education choices, medical treatment, and religious upbringing. If the parents are awarded joint legal custody, they are supposed to discuss and agree on these decisions. When one parent is unwilling or unable to communicate with the other parent effectively, sole legal custody could be awarded – giving the decision-making ability to only one parent.
Physical custody can also be sole or jointly shared between the parents. For custody to be jointly shared, each parent would have to have at least 128 overnight stays during the course of a year. When one parent is awarded sole physical custody, the other will be granted visitation rights.
Call Our Bowie, MD Divorce Attorney for a Free Consultation
No one wants to go through a divorce. But if you do, you should have the representation of our experienced Bowie, Maryland divorce attorney. Divorce is more than a physical separation – you need to be concerned about the distribution of marital property, possible alimony, and if you have children, many other issues are present. At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, our Maryland family law attorneys and staff will work to protect your rights. Call (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free appointment.