Where should I file for divorce?
Divorces are handled through the Circuit Court System in Maryland, which is divided into individual counties and Baltimore City. Maryland has twenty- three counties and Baltimore City as jurisdictions for Circuit Court proceedings. As a general matter, a complaint for divorce in Maryland is filed in the jurisdiction where the parties reside. If the spouses live in different jurisdictions, then the initiating party, the plaintiff, may file either in plaintiff’s jurisdiction or in the jurisdiction where responding party, the defendant, either resides or works. Special rules may apply when dealing with children.
How long will the divorce take?
The time it takes to obtain a final divorce in Maryland, which is referred to as an absolute divorce, depends on the facts and circumstances of the case. In general, if spouses can arrive at an agreement about their marital issues in advance of filing a complaint for absolute divorce, the time it takes for a judge to sign the order for absolute divorce is less than if parties engage in protracted conflict. Maryland courts have put in place a system of organization called differentiated case management. In most jurisdictions (counties and Baltimore City), a trial date in a contested divorce case will be scheduled within one year of the filing date of the complaint for absolute divorce. For uncontested divorces, a hearing on the divorce may typically be scheduled within ninety days of the initial filing date.
What can I do to reduce the attorney’s fees?
One of the most important actions that you can take to reduce the cost of the attorney in a family law case is to retrieve and maintain, to the extent possible, accurate financial records. These include tax returns, bank statements, and credit card statements. By keeping track of expenses and maintaining documentation of their expenses, clients can assist in the preparation of their cases. Knowing basic information about the family such as dates of birth, date of the marriage, social security numbers, and current address of the spouse will also reduce costs. If there are children, know what school they attend and their teachers’ names. Plan ahead when speaking to the attorney, have questions ready and organize your time to avoid covering the same ground. Take notes so you can refer to them later if there are questions. Ask for clarification if something is not understood. Because reorganizing within a family can be fraught with emotional difficulties, it may be wise to consider engaging the services of a therapist to assist in sorting out complicated feelings that frequently emerge.