Helping Families Navigate Through Divorce and Separation

Frequently Asked Questions

Most Popular FAQs

Maryland Attorney FAQs

Q:  What are no fault grounds for absolute divorce?

A:  A no fault divorce is a divorce without grounds. Parties can either have 1) a 12 month separation or 2) mutual consent grounds to obtain an absolute divorce in Maryland. 

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 for 12 continuous months, then they are separated. Neither party needs to agree to separate or divorce or need to prove “fault”.

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. The purpose of alimony is to provide an opportunity for the recipient to become self-supporting. The courts generally award rehabilitative alimony for a certain period until the recipient becomes self-supporting.

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. Maryland has Child Support Guidelines in effect which is a formula for calculating child support based on a proportion of each parent’s gross income.

Q:  Can I not pay child support?

A: The courts generally apply the Maryland Child Support Guidelines unless a party can show that the application of the guidelines would be unjust and inappropriate in a given case. A key factor in determining child support is who is the custodial parent and who is the non-custodial parent and what is the parents’ gross income. If one is ordered to pay child support and they fail to make their payments on time, they would be considered in contempt of court and the Court may order them to pay back on their arrears.

Q: What is formal discovery in family law cases?

A: Discovery is a method that that attorneys use to gather information in your family law case. It generally requires sending the opposing party Interrogatories and Request for Production of Documents. There are other used discovery methods including depositions, subpoenas, mental and/or physical examinations, and requests for admissions which are also used to help prepare your case for trial.

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.