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Maryland Divorce and Family Law Attorney
The Law Office of Neveen H. Kurtom 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. The Law Office of Neveen H. Kurtom can represent you as we have handled many contested and uncontested divorces.
Although Maryland is a no-fault state, it may be a factor in the distribution of assets if it can be proven that one party dissipated marital assets for non-marital purposes. Moreover, fault in a divorce can impact a judge’s ruling of determining whether alimony should be awarded. In Maryland, there are two types of divorces: 1) Contested and 2) Uncontested. If a case is contested, it means that the parties do not agree on certain terms of the divorce (this may include the division of property or child custody among other things) and the Judge will make the ultimate decision on the distribution of assets, payment of alimony, and child custody and support of the minor children. If a divorce is uncontested, it means that the parties agree on all terms of their divorce and have entered into a “Marital Settlement Agreement” which will be incorporated into a final Judgment of Absolute Divorce.
A divorce case has many different components to it which may include filing the Complaint, going through what’s called the “discovery” process, negotiating a settlement agreement, and attending various hearings. It is important to know your rights and understand each and every component.
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
What is a Limited Divorce?
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. A limited divorce is NOT a permanent dissolution of the marriage. The parties remain legally married while living separate and apart from one another. During their separation, neither party can remarry or have sexual intercourse with another person or that will be considered adultery.
A limited divorce is generally used by people who do not have grounds for an absolute divorce but need interim financial help while waiting to obtain a final absolute divorce. The Court can make a temporary finding regarding child custody, child support, temporary alimony, and the use and possession of property.
Jurisdiction for Filing for Divorce
A party can file for divorce in Maryland if they or their spouse currently reside in Maryland and the grounds for divorce occurred in the State of Maryland. If the grounds for divorce occurred outside of Maryland, you or your spouse must have lived in Maryland for at least six (6) months before filing your divorce complaint.
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).
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.