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Maryland Family Law Video FAQs

Can alimony be modified or terminated in Maryland?

Video Transcription:

Yes, alimony can be modified or terminated in Maryland as long as the parties haven’t agreed to otherwise. As far as termination, that occurs when a party dies or the recipient party remarries. Modification can occur if there is material change in circumstances, such as the payee spouse’s income dramatically increases or decreases. Otherwise, alimony will remain the same and terminate as indicated by the parties or by court order.

Does a court have to decide our visitation schedule, or can the other parent and I make the schedule ourselves?

Video Transcription:

The court does not have to decide your visitation schedule as long as you and the other parent are able to agree on a schedule. You don’t necessarily want the court to create a visitation schedule when they don’t know the nuances of your family. The schedule that you create with the other parent, you can modify as the child grows to accommodate your schedules as well as the child’s extracurricular activities and school activities.

How are assets split in a divorce?

Video Transcription:

In Maryland, all assets as of the date of marriage are generally considered marital property. Therefore, the court will generally divide those assets 50/50 between the parties. Those assets can include your bank accounts, your retirement accounts, and any real estate you owned at the time of divorce.

How do I choose a divorce attorney in Maryland?

Video Transcription:

You’re going to want to choose a person that you’re comfortable with to handle your representation for your divorce case. You’re going to sit down with them and discuss all the intimate details of your relationship with your partner, your finances, how you raise your children and anything that may come up in trial that they need to be aware of. If you’re not comfortable with that person and discussing those issues then it can make for a difficult time and make it awkward for the attorney to handle your representation.

How is divorce initiated in Maryland?

Video Transcription:

In Maryland, in order to initiate a divorce you would need to be able to prove grounds for divorce in court. You would file a complaint. The court would issue a summons, which would need to be personally served on the other party. The other party would then file an answer to your complaint. Then the court case would be set in for hearing and proceed from there.

How is the amount of child support determined in Maryland?

Video Transcription:

The amount of child support in Maryland is calculated pursuant to the Maryland Child Support guidelines. The gross income of the parties is taken into account. Deductions are made for pre-existing alimony and child support payments as well as health insurance for just the child and any extraordinary expenses. What’s not considered in these calculation is the living expenses of the parties.

I am getting a divorce. Do I need to hire an attorney?

Video Transcription:

You do not necessarily need to hire an attorney if both parties are in agreement as to all issues regarding your divorce. If you are not in agreement then you would want to schedule a consult with an attorney to at least discuss what you could possibly have a right to as part of your divorce. Since in Maryland, divorce law is extremely nuanced, I really suggest that you meet with an attorney to handle your claim and to get you everything that you’re entitled to.

If child support is not paid, must visitation be allowed in Maryland?

Video Transcription:

In Maryland, child support and visitation issues are completely separate issues. If the other parent fails to pay child support, you cannot deny visitation with the child. The court takes this very seriously. If the parent is not paying child support, you need to file an action immediately in Maryland in order to enforce the child support payments.

If I ask for a divorce and move out, do I still have to pay the mortgage on that place?

Video Transcription:

If you move out of the home and your name is not on the mortgage, then the court is not going to legally obligate you to make payments. However, if you did not contribute, the court may take that in consideration during the hearing. If your name is on the mortgage, then you are legally obligated to make those payments. That could negatively affect your credit as well as put the house into foreclosure if you fail to make any contribution.

What are grounds for divorce in Maryland?

Video Transcription:

There are fault and no-fault grounds for an absolute divorce in Maryland. Fault grounds include adultery, cruelty, excessively vicious conduct, actual desertion, or constructive desertion. No-fault grounds in Maryland include 12-month separation, or what’s commonly known as a mutual consent divorce. For mutual consent divorce, you need to have a separation agreement that takes care of all of the issues remaining the parties, as well as their debts and assets. Both parties have to be present for the hearing, and there have to be no minor children involved.

What factors does the court consider in determining alimony in Maryland?

Video Transcription:

The court considers 12 factors when determining alimony in Maryland such as the age of the parties, the length of the marriage, the health of the parties, the standard of living the parties enjoyed during the marriage as well as what led to the breakdown of the marriage. The court will hear testimony regarding those factors and then will determine if alimony will be awarded, the amount of alimony and the duration of the alimony to be received.

What happens to retirement funds and 401(k) plans in a divorce?

Video Transcription:

In Maryland, as of the date of the marriage, all of your retirement accounts are actually considered marital property. When you get a divorce, the court will take the date of marriage to the date of divorce and that is considered marital funds. At that point, the court will divide those or in any exceptional circumstances 50/50 between the parties. Any assets to your retirement account that you acquired prior to marriage are considered premarital and your assets.

What if I need child support while the divorce is still in process in Maryland?

Video Transcription:

If you’re in need of child support in Maryland because the other spouse is not contributing to your child’s expenses, then you have the right to file a motion with the court asking for temporary child support.

The court would then set the matter in for hearing and determine whether or not it will grant you that temporary child support, pending the outcome of the final hearing.

What is a marital settlement agreement in a divorce in Maryland?

Video Transcription:

A marital settlement agreement, otherwise known as a separation agreement, is a document or contract that is created by the parties usually through council that disposes off all of the issues in their divorce matter. Once you have the separation agreement in Maryland, you can file for an uncontested divorce without unnecessary court intervention.

What is an uncontested divorce?

Video Transcription:

An uncontested divorce is where the parties have no issues and dispute. This can either be by a separation agreement that’s been executed and can be incorporated into the judgement of divorce, or the parties simply do not have any joint assets that need to be an issue. In an uncontested divorce, you can take testimony in front of a magistrate rather than having to go to court so that expedites the process.

What is the first thing that I should do if I am served with a summons and complaint in Maryland?

Video Transcription:

The first thing you can do if you’re served a summons of complaint in Maryland is to note the date that you were served. In Maryland, you have 30 days to respond to a complaint if you are in-state . If you are out-of-state, you have 60 days to respond. If you are international, you have 90 days to respond. It’s very important for you to answer the complaint, otherwise the other party can file a notion for default and you would not have your say in court at that point.

What qualifies as a material change of circumstances in a Maryland child custody case?

Video Transcription:

A material change in circumstances is a change that significantly affects the welfare of the child such as a custodial parent moving significant distance from their current residence, a change in the child’s school, the incapacity of the custodial parent or the inability of the custodial parent to properly care for the child. All those are considered material change in circumstances in the state of Maryland.

What should I bring when I meet with the divorce attorney?

Video Transcription:

When you meet with a divorce attorney, you want to have with you documents that show your assets, like your pay stubs, your tax returns, your life insurance policies, your retirement accounts. You also want to have information regarding your homes, as well as your mortgage, your vehicles, and any loans that are on those vehicles, as well as any other information that you want to provide the attorney such as complaints that you were served or information regarding your children. The more information that you can provide your attorney during that consult, the better they are able to advise you regarding your issues.

Do you have a question that’s not answered on this list? Call us at 410-255-0373.

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