The process of filing for divorce can be complicated if you do not have a legal background, even if you and your spouse agree on most issues and you believe that your dissolution of marriage will be relatively stress-free. To begin the process, you must complete a form called the Complaint for Absolute Divorce, which in Maryland is available for download at www.mdcourts.gov
. You must file these papers in your county’s circuit court.
Once you have filed the complaint, the court’s clerk issues a writ of summons and a copy of the complaint, which get served to your spouse. Maryland law states that the following individuals may serve the defendant with these papers:
- Any person over the age of 18 who is not the plaintiff.
- The county sheriff of the county in which the defendant either resides or works. There is a fee to have the sheriff deliver the papers.
- A person who works for a private process serving company, who will also charge a fee.
- S. Mail, with return receipt requested. The post office requires the defendant signs the copy, at which point the plaintiff receives proof of delivery.
After service, the defendant must issue a response. If the defendant lives in Maryland, he or she has 30 days to answer. The spouse also has the right to file a Counter Complaint for Absolute Divorce, in which the defendant states different grounds for the divorce. There’s no formal service required for this document.
Finally, both parties must disclose certain financial statements, including information about their assets, liabilities, debts, income and other expenses. The judge will use this information to help make decisions on alimony and child support, if applicable to the case.
To learn more about the Maryland divorce process and to be sure to protect your best interests at all times, meet with a knowledgeable La Plata divorce attorney
at Mudd, Mudd & Fitzgerald, P.A.