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Can the Court order health insurance for a child?

Yes, in Maryland, the Court can order either parent to include a child on their health insurance policy if the child can be included at a reasonable cost to the parent. Whether the cost is “reasonable” will depend upon the facts and circumstances of the particular...

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What is interspousal immunity?

Interspousal immunity is a common law doctrine which prohibits spouses from suing each other. The Maryland Court of Appeals in Bozman v. Bozman joined the majority of states in abolishing interspousal immunity. Now, spouses in Maryland may sue each other for any...

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What is considered stalking?

Maryland passed a revised stalking statute, effective October 1, 2003. Under the new law, “stalking” is defined as approaching or pursuing another where one knows or reasonably should have known the conduct would place another in reasonable fear of serious bodily...

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What is a Protective Order?

A “Protective Order” is a form of relief available from the Court for “Protective Order” against victims of domestic violence. In Maryland, a person is eligible for a Protective Order if they: are the current or former spouse of the alleged abuser, have a child with...

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What is a Peace Order?

A “Peace Order” is a form of relief available from the Court when a person has problems with another individual, such as someone the person is dating, a neighbor or a stranger. If a person is eligible to file for a “Protective Order” against domestic violence, he or...

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Where can I file for divorce?

You can file for divorce in Maryland if you or your spouse have resided in Maryland for at least one year prior to the filing of the Complaint for divorce or if the grounds for divorce occurred in Maryland. For example, if adultery is your grounds for divorce and the...

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What is a Separation Agreement?

A Separation Agreement is a permanent contract between spouses, generally negotiated with assistance of independent counsel, which resolves all issues related to the dissolution of the marriage…

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What is a pendente lite hearing?

"Pendente lite” is Latin for “pending litigation” and refers to temporary relief the Court can award to spouses while their divorce litigation is pending. A pendente lite hearing is typically scheduled within 3-4 months of the filing of the initial Complaint. At the...

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What is a limited divorce?

A limited divorce is a divorce from bed and board. It grants spouses the right to live separate and apart from one another, although they remain as husband and wife and cannot remarry. A limited divorce may be sought for religious purposes when spouses do not have...

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What is a “no fault” divorce?

A “no fault” divorce is where neither spouse is considered responsible for the breakup of the marriage. Technically, Maryland does not have a no fault divorce. The closest thing to a no fault divorce in Maryland is when spouses are divorced on grounds of a one-year...

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What are grounds for absolute divorce?

In Maryland, there are seven grounds for divorce (to terminate the marriage): adultery; desertion for twelve continuous months; one-year separation; conviction of a felony or misdemeanor with incarceration for at least one year under a sentence of three or more years;...

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Is my divorce case uncontested?

Your divorce case is uncontested if you and your spouse agree to divorce and all issues related to the marriage have been resolved. A contested divorce is where the grounds for divorce and/or any issues related to the marriage are in dispute, such as child custody,...

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How do I prove adultery?

To obtain a divorce on the grounds of adultery in Maryland, you must prove that your spouse had the “opportunity” and “disposition” to commit adultery. Proof of sexual intercourse is not required. “Opportunity” may be shown by your spouse spending time alone with a...

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How can I settle my divorce?

Your divorce can be settled (e.g. resolving custody, support, property division, etc.) in 4 ways. First, “litigation” involves legal decisions made for a couple by a Judge after lengthy and often costly adversarial process, including discovery, motions, evaluations,...

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Do I need a Separation Agreement to get divorced?

Although a Separation Agreement is recommended in many cases, it is not required in order to obtain a divorce. A written Separation Agreement may be necessary to address the disposition of the family home because any agreement relating to real estate must be in...

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Can I force my spouse to leave the home?

If the home is jointly titled or leased, you cannot “force” your spouse to leave the home (e.g. by changing the locks and precluding access). Each spouse has an equal right to stay and live in a jointly owned or leased home. Under circumstances of domestic violence,...

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Can I file for divorce while living with my spouse?

Under certain limited circumstances, you can file for divorce while still living with your spouse. A spouse can file for an absolute divorce on grounds of adultery by the other spouse while still living together. A spouse can file for a limited or absolute divorce on...

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Can I change my Will prior to divorce?

Yes, you can change your Will at any time. If you are contemplating divorce, you should update your Will before the divorce so that your desires are in effect upon divorce. If you do not update or have a Will, your surviving spouse may be named to manage your estate...

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What is non-marital property?

“Non-marital” property in Maryland is property: 1) acquired before the marriage; 2) acquired by inheritance or gift from a 3rd party (other than a spouse); 3) excluded by valid agreement (e.g. a Pre-Nuptial or Separation Agreement); or 4) directly traceable to any of...

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What is marital property?

Marital property is property, however titled, which is acquired by one or both of the parties during the marriage, up to the date of divorce (not the date of separation). Marital property does not include property: 1) acquired before the marriage, 2) acquired by...

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What is a monetary award?

A monetary award (judgment against a spouse) occurs upon divorce after the Court determines which property is marital and the marital property value. After taking these steps, a Maryland Court may grant a monetary award to one spouse as an adjustment of the parties’...

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What is “dissipated” marital property?

“Dissipated” marital property involves monies or assets which have been wrongfully disposed of before the divorce trial. In Maryland, where one spouse uses marital property for his or her own benefit for a purpose unrelated to the marriage at a time when the marriage...

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What are factors for a monetary award?

Before granting a monetary award to one spouse, the Maryland Court must consider: 1) each party’s monetary and non-monetary contributions to the family’s well-being; 2) the value of all marital and non-marital property; 3) each party’s economic circumstances; 4) the...

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Is my business marital property?

In Maryland, the value of a business interest acquired during the marriage is considered marital property, even if it is owned and operated by only one spouse. Upon divorce, the Court must determine the “fair market value” of a spouse’s business interest, which is...

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Is Maryland a “community” property state

No, Maryland is not a “community” property state. It is an “equitable distribution” state. Unlike “community” property, “equitable” does not mean “equal.” Equitable is defined as fair and just under the facts of the particular case. Therefore, the Court has discretion...

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How long can I remain in the family home upon divorce?

In Maryland, the Court can award exclusive use and possession of the family home and family use personal property (e.g. household furnishings, family car) to a custodial parent for up to 3 years from the date of divorce. Absent agreement of the parties, use and...

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How long can I have use and possession of the family home?

In Maryland, the Court can award exclusive use and possession of the family home and family use personal property (e.g. household furnishings, family car) to a custodial parent for up to 3 years from the date of couple's divorce. Absent agreement of the parties, use...

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How are pensions divided upon divorce?

Maryland Courts use different methods to divide pensions between spouses, depending on the type of pension. Upon divorce, the Court can transfer ownership of an interest in a pension, profit sharing, 401(k), IRA, stock option or other deferred compensation plan owned...

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Can the Court transfer property upon divorce?

Upon divorce in Maryland, the Court may transfer ownership of an interest in: (1) a pension, retirement, profit-sharing, or deferred compensation plan, (2) family use personal property, subject to the consent of lienholders, or (3) the family home (as of October 1,...

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Can the Court divide debts upon divorce?

The Maryland Court cannot divide debts between spouses upon divorce. Therefore, one spouse cannot be held liable for the other spouse’s debts. Spouses are jointly liable for debts in their joint names, although the Court cannot require either spouse to satisfy joint...

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Can I keep my engagement ring upon divorce?

Whether you can keep your engagement ring upon divorce depends on when it was acquired. If the engagement ring was acquired prior to the marriage, the spouse who received the ring will be entitled to keep the ring upon divorce as non-marital property, free from...

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Are my stock options marital property?

In Maryland, stock options granted during the marriage are considered marital property subject to equitable division upon divorce, regardless of whether they are vested or non-vested. A stock option is a contractual right to purchase company stock for a specific price...

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Do I need a Pre-Nuptial Agreement?

A Pre-Nuptial Agreement is a contract negotiated and signed by a couple prior to their marriage. It is recommended that a couple have a Pre-Nuptial Agreement in situations where one or both have children from prior marriages and/or one party has substantially more...

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Can I legally record communications of my spouse?

Under Maryland Wiretap law, it is illegal for ordinary citizens to willfully intercept, endeavor to intercept, or procure another to intercept or endeavor to intercept, any wire, oral or electronic communications, absent consent of the parties involved…

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Will an attorney be appointed for my child?

An attorney may be appointed for a child in custody cases for three (3) reasons. First, a Best Interest Attorney, formerly called Guardian ad litem, is appointed to protect a child’s best interests, regardless of the child’s desires and even if disclosure of...

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Where can I file for custody?

Generally, a custody action should be filed in the “home state” of the child. The “home state” of a child is where the child has resided with a parent or guardian for at least 6 consecutive months immediately before filing the custody action. For example, assume the...

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When is supervised visitation required?

In Maryland, if the Court has reasonable grounds to believe that a child has been abused or neglected by a parent, the Court can require supervised visitation to protect the future safety, physiological, psychological and emotional well-being of the child. In extreme...

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What is a “nesting custody agreement”?

“Nesting” or “bird’s nest” custody is a joint custody arrangement where the children remain in the family home and the parents take turns moving in and out of the home into separate residences. In other words, the parents are “visiting” the children instead of the...

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What is “reasonable visitation”?

In Montgomery County, Maryland, the Court typically considers “reasonable visitation” for the non-custodial parent to be alternating weekends from Friday to Sunday, alternating holidays, at least 2 weeks of summer vacation and a midweek visit for dinner or overnight....

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Is custody modifiable?

Custody and visitation are always modifiable by the Court if there has been a “material change in circumstances” since the last Court Order, and the change “fundamentally affects the best interests of the child.” The Court retains the power to modify custody and...

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How is custody determined?

The Court determines custody based on what is in the best interest of the child. This determination depends entirely on the particular facts of each case. The Court will consider many factors when deciding residential custody (where the child should reside): fitness...

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Can a third party be granted child custody?

In a dispute between a parent and a non-parent third party, there is a presumption that the best interest of the child is served by awarding custody to the parent. This presumption can only be rebutted if: (1) the parent is unfit; or (2) exceptional circumstances...

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Can a parent relocate with a child?

In Maryland, when a parent desires to relocate with a child, the other parent has the right to object to the relocation for any reason (e.g., if the move would interfere with non-relocating parent’s custody rights). When parents cannot agree on whether a child should...

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Can a child decide where to live?

Under Maryland law, a minor child who is 16 years old or older may petition the Court, on their own, to change an existing custody order. After a hearing, the Court may modify the existing custody order if the Court finds the modification to be in the child’s best...

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Where can I file for support?

If both parties are Maryland residents, the Plaintiff (person seeking support) may file for child support or alimony in the county where the Defendant (intended payor of support) resides, carries on business, is employed or habitually engages in business. In addition,...

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When does child support end?

Under new law in Maryland effective October 1, 2002, if a child turns age 18 while still enrolled in high school, the child support obligation continues until either the child graduates from high school, or age 19, whichever is first. Otherwise, child support...

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What happens if child support is not paid?

In Maryland, if child support is not paid, one can seek to establish or enforce the obligation by filing an action in the Circuit Court or with the Maryland Child Support Enforcement Agency – www.dhr.sailorsite.net/csea. Once a child support Order is entered, the...

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