I have practiced family law in Maryland since 1993 and can help you understand your rights and obligations during a divorce. At The Law Offices of Robert C. Eustice, we work together to address challenging issues such as the equitable distribution of property, spousal and child support, and the establishment of appropriate custody and visitation.
You can file for a no-fault divorce in Maryland based on two separate grounds, or you can file based on marital fault grounds.
No-fault divorce To file for a Maryland no-fault absolute divorce, you must either have been separated from your spouse for one year, even if he/she does not want to get divorced or both parties must mutually consent to the granting of the divorce by the court.
One Year Separation: To meet the state’s definition of separation, you and your spouse must:
You cannot simply sleep in separate areas of your home or move apart and continue to have sexual relations. A Maryland no-fault separation must be absolute. Mutual Consent: To meet the state’s definition of mutual consent, you and your spouse must both agree to the granting of the divorce by the court. If so, there is no waiting period before you can be divorced by the court. Additionally:
Fault grounds for divorce
Maryland law also allows you to file for divorce on the basis of:
I help you determine how to clearly establish fault grounds for your Maryland divorce, if necessary.
In Maryland, a court can award alimony while a divorce case is pending (which is called pendente lite alimony). At the divorce trial, a court can award alimony to a spouse for a specified period of time, which is called “rehabilitative alimony,” in that such an award is supposed to provide financial assistance to a spouse until they can get the education and/or work training to become self-supporting. This is the preferred type of alimony in Maryland. However, a court can also award what is called “indefinite alimony” to a spouse in Maryland if he/she is going to be unable to become self-supporting, or if, even after he/she has done everything possible to become self-supporting, the parties’ respective standards of living will still be unconscionably disparate. Generally, alimony (whether rehabilitative or indefinite) terminates at the death of either party, or the remarriage of the recipient spouse. As of 2019, alimony is no longer taxable to the recipient and tax-deductible by the payor.
In Maryland, marital property continues to accumulate until the divorce is complete. Thus, any property that you acquire after separation may be subject to division with your spouse. Marital property is equitably divided (i.e., divided fairly), not necessarily equally divided. I work to protect your interests and help you receive your fair share of the marital property.
Though the national trend favors joint legal and/or physical custody, at this point Maryland does not make this presumption. Legal custody deals with the issue of who gets to make the major decisions concerning your child’s welfare, such as health-care and educational issues. Physical custody/visitation deal with where your child resides at any given time. If you believe it is in your child’s best interests for you to have sole or joint legal and/or physical custody of your child, you need a lawyer who can stand up for your parental rights. I have the experience and skill to help you make a compelling case.
The Maryland child support guidelines may appear simple at first, and presumptively apply to parents with combined incomes of $180,000 per year or less. However, under the guidelines, the amount of child support is determined after consideration of each parent’s gross income, along with consideration of any work-related childcare expenses, the costs of providing health insurance for your child(ren), and any unreimbursed extraordinary medical/dental expenses (e.g., braces). Additionally, the amount of overnights that each parent has with the child(ren) can also effect the amount of child support to be paid. For parents with combined incomes greater than $180,000 per year, the court has significant discretion in setting the amount of child support to be paid. Child support generally ends at age 18, unless the child is still in high school. In that case, the child support payments continue until the child graduates from high school or turns 19 years old, whichever occurs first. Finally, under certain circumstances, a parent can be ordered to contribute to private school expenses for a child if the child has a particular educational need to attend such a school.
When your marriage has come to an end, choose a lawyer who can negotiate a fair settlement or fight for your rights at trial. Contact me, Maryland divorce attorney Robert C. Eustice. I am here to see you through this crisis.