The McLeod Law Firm works with divorce clients around the metropolitan area on the full range of property, parenting and alimony issues that can arise at the end of a marriage. One of our most important services is helping our clients develop a clear understanding of their legal rights and responsibilities with respect to any specific problem. We help you understand your legal position in practical terms, you'll be able to define and pursue your own objectives from a strong foundation.
When you are going through a divorce, it’s important to be represented by a knowledgeable attorney whom you can trust to represent your best interests and legal rights.
Grounds for Divorce in the State of Maryland:
- Desertion for 12 continuous months
- Separation for 12 continuous months
- Conviction of a felony or a misdemeanor with incarceration for at least one year (under sentence of three or more years)
- Insanity with the spouse institutionalized for at least three years and the insanity is incurable
- Excessively vicious conduct
- Mutual Consent
Effective October 1, 2015, mutual consent is a new “no fault” ground for absolute divorce. A court may grant an absolute divorce on the ground of mutual consent, without a waiting period, if:
(1) the parties do not have any minor children in common;
(2) the parties execute and submit to the court a written settlement agreement signed by both parties that resolves all issues relating to alimony and the distribution of property;
(3) neither party files a pleading to set aside the settlement agreement prior to the divorce hearing required under the Maryland Rules; and
(4) both parties appear before the court at the absolute divorce hearing.
A limited divorce grants spouses the right to live separate and apart from one another, but the parties remain Husband and Wife. A limited divorce may be granted by the court for religious or financial purposes when parties do not have the grounds for an absolute divorce. The parties will have to obtain a judgment of absolute divorce once the grounds are met for an absolute divorce.
Filing for Divorce
A party can file for divorce in Maryland if they or their 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 the State of Maryland.
Alimony is money one spouse pays to support a spouse or former spouse after the marriage is ended or the couple has separated.
Is there a formula for determining alimony?
In Maryland, there is no formula or calculator that the courts use to determine what amount of alimony should be paid. The determination whether to award alimony and the amount and duration of the award are for the court to decide based on the facts of each case. There are, however, factors that the Maryland courts take into consideration as it pertains to alimony awards.
What factors does a court consider in making an alimony award?
Maryland law says that the judge must consider "all the factors necessary for a fair and equitable award." The Maryland statute's include the following factors:
- the ability of the spouse who wants alimony to be self-supporting
- how much time it will take the spouse who wants alimony to get the training or education necessary to find suitable employment
- the couple's standard of living while married
- the length of the marriage
- the contributions of each spouse to the family, whether those contributions were monetary or took another form
- the circumstances that led to the end of the marriage
- each spouse's age
- each spouse's physical and mental condition
- the ability of the spouse from whom alimony is sought to meet his or her own needs while paying alimony
- any agreement the spouses have made regarding alimony
- the financial needs and resources of each spouse, including their income, assets, retirement benefits, debts, and property awarded in the divorce, and
- whether awarding alimony would cause the spouse from whom it is sought to become eligible for medical assistance earlier (this factor applies only if the spouse is a resident of certain types of care facilities).
Is alimony taxed?
Yes, alimony is taxable income to the spouse who is receiving it. Alimony is also deductible for the paying spouse.
Marital v. Non-Marital Property
Marital property obtained during the course of the marriage is marital property regardless of who paid for it, with the exception of property received by one spouse as a gift or inheritance from a third party. Marital property can include real estate, bank accounts, stock, furniture, pensions and retirement assets, cars and other personal property.
Non-marital property is any property obtained prior to the marriage remains the property of the party who owned it prior to the marriage. Also, as stated above, any property received by a spouse by gift or inheritance during the marriage from a third party remains the non-marital property of that spouse unless gifted or titled to the other spouse.