FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q:  Is there a waiting period for a divorce in Maryland?

A:  In order to obtain an absolute divorce in Maryland, the parties must have been separated for 1 year if they have minor children. There are grounds for divorce that, if proven, will allow you to obtain a divorce in a less than a year.  If the parties have no minor children together and mutually agree to obtain an absolute divorce, then the Court will grant a divorce at the first hearing if the parties reach a settlement agreement. 


Q:  What is a legal separation?

A:  In Maryland, if a husband and wife are not having sexual relations and are not residing in the same residence, then they are separated. 


Q:  What is alimony?

A:  Alimony is the payment of money for support of a spouse or former spouse for a period of time so long as they are separated.


Q:  What is the difference between alimony and child support?

A:  Alimony is paid to support a spouse or former spouse whereas child support is paid to support minor child/children.


Q:  When does alimony start?

A:  The court may order retroactive alimony back to the date the complaint seeking such alimony was filed.


Q:  Is alimony taxed as income? 

A:  Yes, alimony is taxable to the payee and deductible by the payor.


Q:  What is marital property? 

A:  In Maryland marital property means the property, however titled, acquired by one or both parties during the marriage.


Q:  How does a court make a monetary award? 

A:  Maryland courts determine what property is marital property and determines its value, and then makes a monetary award as an adjustment of the equities and rights of the parties.


Q:  What is legal custody?

A:  Legal custody is the right and obligation to make decisions involving education, religious training, medical choices, and other matters concerning a child's life and welfare.


Q:  What is physical custody?

A:  Physical custody means having the minor child/children with you in your home and taking care of the child while they are in your care.


Q:  What is mediation?

A:  Mediation is an informal process where a neutral person called the "mediator" helps parties to discuss, negotiate, and reach an agreement to resolve a conflict or dispute.


Q:  How does mediation work?

A:  The parties meet with a mediator in one or more sessions and the mediator works with them to move toward an agreement. 


Q:  What is a prenuptial agreement? 

A:  A prenuptial agreement is a contract between prospective spouses which addresses any alimony and/or property rights of parties should they divorce after being married. 


Q:  What is Collaborative Law?

A:  Collaborative Law is an alternative resolution mechanism for disputes.  Collaborative Law encourages open, transparent, mature, and cooperative behavior between parties. The parties and their attorneys enter into a Participation Agreement, which defines the environment in which the parties and their counsel commit to reach efficient and mutually agreeable settlements without court intervention.  The result of the collaborative law process is a settlement agreement and a judgment of divorce through an uncontested court hearing.