Frequently Asked Questions for Maryland Divorce & Family Law

Divorce triggers myriad questions and uncertainty about your family’s future. Understanding the process can ease your concerns and empower you to make the best decisions.  Learn the answers to basic questions about Maryland divorce laws to protect your rights.

How long do I need to be separated from my spouse before I can file for divorce?

The length of separation depends on the grounds for your Maryland divorce. You can file for voluntary divorce after 12 months of separation. You can file for divorce at any time based on adultery or abuse.

Should my spouse and I sign a separation agreement?

A separation agreement is not a prerequisite for divorce, but it is a good idea. The written contract contains the terms of your separation?including child custody, visitation, spousal support and the division of marital property?that remains in effect until your divorce is finalized. The document also provides evidence of your legal separation as a basis for your divorce petition.

Should I file for a limited divorce?

A limited divorce offers couples a formal process for determining the terms of separation. You remain married, with all of the legal rights and obligations implied by your marital status. However, you are held to the court’s orders regarding child custody, visitation support and property.

What is an absolute divorce?

An absolute divorce dissolves your marriage and renders you legally single. Your final judgment issues your divorce terms that may incorporate portions of your limited divorce or may alter those provisions. An absolute divorce allows you to remarry and releases you from certain inheritance and property obligations.

Is a limited divorce a prerequisite to absolute divorce?

Although a limited divorce may protect your interests, you do not need to take this step before filing for an absolute divorce.

Do I need to go to trial?

Most divorce cases do not go to trial. Often, you can reach an equitable agreement during mediation?a formal negotiation process that can typically reduce the time, expense and stress associated with divorce. Charles County courts order divorcing parents to mediation to resolve issues concerning minor children. In addition, courts may sometimes order couples with property disputes to mediation. Couples can also voluntarily choose to mediate the terms of their divorce. If you are unable to reach a settlement through mediation, you may need to proceed to trial.

Get the answers you need to protect your rights during divorce

Waldorf divorce attorney Thomas E. Pyles has more than 20 years of experience advocating for the rights of divorcing clients throughout Waldorf, La Plata and the surrounding Charles County communities. Contact The Law Office of Thomas E. Pyles online to get the answers you need. 

Law Office of Thomas E. Pyles
2670 Crain Highway, Suite 411
Waldorf, MD 20601
301.705.5006

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Thomas Edward Pyles

Licensed since 1991

Member at firm Law Office of Thomas E. Pyles, P.A.

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