The least expensive type of divorce that can be completed in Maryland concern couples who file a joint petition for an uncontested separation where no children are involved. While the filing fee for each county will vary, the same kinds of expenses must be considered regardless of where you are in the state. When trying to figure out how much does a divorce cost in Maryland, here are a few constants to keep in mind.
To prepare a joint petition for an uncontested separation, you and your spouse must create a written agreement that can be submitted to the court for approval. This can cover such issues as the payment of shared debts and the division of shared property. For couples who have minor children, there are many more things they must detail in the paperwork:
• What the child custody arrangements will be
• Alimony payments
• Child support payments
• Visitation rights
Resolving all of these issues may sometimes be difficult without a third party’s guidance. Some couples may decide they could benefit from the services of a lawyer who specializes in divorce mediation. While this will add to your estimate of how much does a divorce cost in Maryland, it may help prevent even more defenses in the courtroom later.
If you are filing a petition for divorce against your spouse, there will be an additional expense involved if you are unwilling to present a copy of the complaint directly to your partner. Your spouse may choose to file an official response disagreeing to a divorce or any of the statements in the complaint. An additional fee will be charged for processing this paperwork. When preparing a budget, separate jointly and singly incurred expenses when determining how much does a divorce cost in Maryland.
During the pretrial process, court-supervised informal hearings will occur. Both parties will be brought together and given free legal help in an attempt to help them reach a mutually acceptable agreement.
Retaining a divorce lawyer can easily be the most expensive part of the divorce process and will be the single biggest part of your budget of how much does a divorce cost in Maryland. If you decide you require legal representation to present an effective case in front of a judge, be sure to enquire about the expenses you can expect to incur from any attorney you consult with. Many such lawyers charge by the hour, which can quickly add up to a large bill.
Alimony payments may be awarded on either a temporary or permanent basis. Temporary alimony payments with a fixed end date will be awarded after judges take into consideration:
• How capable the person seeking alimony is of becoming self-sustaining, and how long it will take them to do so
• The age and health of both parties
Alimony payments to continue for an indefinite amount of time may be awarded if:
• Due to their age, illness or disability, the person seeking alimony cannot becomes self-sustaining
• The gap between the two parties’ standard of living would be inequitable
A judge has the final authority in determining how much does a divorce cost in Maryland.