Divorce in Baltimore: Who’s Gonna Keep The House?

Everyone wants a happy ending to their relationship, especially for a married couple. Most of the time, they always want to keep their married life intact and keep the relationship working. However, some relationships simply don’t work, which ended in filing a divorce. Divorce is the legal termination of a marriage by a court in a legal proceeding. Different cities, even states have different rules and laws on this matter as in the case of Baltimore.

Couples filing for a divorce complains about the overall process to be lengthy, tedious and cost a lot of money. But in Baltimore, it’s not the case. Michael Dresser wrote an article in Baltimore Sun about a new law that makes the divorce path for couples a lot easier than what it is used to. Read below to learn more about this new law.

New Law Eases Path To Divorce For Many Couples

Image Source: The Baltimore Sun

When spouses in Maryland agree to split up and amicably hammer out a separation agreement, state law still makes them wait a year to file for divorce.

That will change Thursday — at least for some couples — when a new law eliminates the waiting period for those without minor children who mutually consent to divorce and agree on a property split. Couples with children will still have to live apart for a year before they can file, even if they have resolved custody and support issues.

The change is the result of legislation sponsored by Sen. Robert A. Zirkin and passed in April by the General Assembly. Zirkin, a Baltimore County Democrat, said the measure will help thousands of Marylanders to move on with their lives.

Lindsay Parvis, a Montgomery County attorney who co-chairs the Maryland State Bar Association’s section on family law, called the change “a huge development.”

She said it will be a relief for many people to know they can move forward “rather than a law telling them they have to wait 12 months.”

The current law starts the one-year clock on the day one spouse moves out of the common home. If the two later stay under the same roof for even a night, the clock resets to Day One.

Parvis said the law will get the courts out of the business of asking eligible couples about that aspect of their lives.

Del. Kathleen Dumais, a family lawyer and vice chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said clients come to her with settlement agreements and are shocked to learn they have to wait a year.

“They just look at me like I’ve lost my mind,” said Dumais, a Montgomery County Democrat. “It just seems so crazy.”

There are exceptions to the waiting period in current law for cases in which a spouse has committed adultery or been abusive. Lawyers point to cases where couples didn’t want to raise adultery charges in an uncontested divorce, but did so to avoid the waiting period. In other cases, spouses accuse themselves of adultery to expedite a ruling.

Dumais, who helped steer the legislation through the House, said some delegates were concerned that Zirkin’s original bill did not include enough protections against one spouse taking advantage of the other. She said the House committee added an amendment excluding parents of minor children from expedited divorce and another requiring that both spouses attend the court hearing in person. Currently only one spouse has to attend the hearing on an uncontested divorce.

The House passed the bill 104-34, with most Republicans opposed. The Senate, which earlier passed the bill 40-7, accepted the House changes and Gov. Larry Hogan signed the bill.

Lawmakers acted after hearing stories such as that of Rachel London and William Atwell.

In joint written testimony, London and Atwell told senators that after deciding in June 2011 that they no longer wanted to be married, they quickly reached agreement on a property split and the support and custody of their 4-year-old son. But because neither could afford to leave their Anne Arundel County home immediately, they lived under the same roof in separate bedrooms until Atwell could move out in October of that year.

It wasn’t until a year later they could file for divorce, which was granted in November 2012.

“Allowing us to file for absolute divorce when we were ready more than a year before would have decreased the stress, burden and uncertainty,” they wrote.

Under the new law, a couple in their position still would not be eligible for a quick divorce because a child was involved. But Dumais said the legislation nonetheless represents meaningful change.

“What I find in family law is that baby steps are important,” she said.

Zirkin, who said divorce law is a small part of his practice, said he hopes the legislation will encourage separating couples to reach agreements.

“It creates an incentive for people to work it out,” he said. “Because the last thing you want in a divorce is people fighting over every last thing.” See full post here…

This new law of easing divorce procedures in Maryland is actually a welcome development for married couples who can’t settle their personal differences and want to go on separate ways through legal means. They must take into consideration as well their properties. Next thing they must know is what ways in which to divorce in Baltimore? Beverly Bird published an article in Legal Zoom the different divorce ways in the said city.

Ways in Which to Divorce in Baltimore, MD

Image Source: Flickr

At first glance, Maryland seems to offer a lot of different ways to divorce, but it’s not really that much more creative than other states. The Annotated Code of Maryland governs divorces in each of the state’s counties, so Baltimore isn’t unique from other locations. The Circuit Court in Baltimore City accepts divorce filings, and you can file there if either you or your spouse resides, owns a business or is employed in the city. Either you or your spouse must have lived in the state for a year.

Absolute Divorce

The typical divorce in Baltimore is an absolute divorce, a complete severance of the marital union. It’s the same as in other states, but Maryland’s legislature has given it a name all its own. After you receive your decree, you can remarry and you and your spouse can no longer inherit from each other. Terms for spousal support, custody, property division and child support are contained in an enforceable court order, your decree.

Limited Divorce

A limited divorce is Baltimore’s version of legal separation. Typically, the only reason to seek a limited divorce is if you need more time to qualify for Maryland’s absolute divorce grounds, some of which require waiting a year. If you can’t wait that long for a court order addressing issues of support or custody, you can file for a limited divorce and the court can issue orders regarding these things right away. You and your spouse can still legally inherit from each other after a limited divorce because your marriage has not technically ended, and property issues are resolved only to the extent that the court can order which of you has the use and possession of assets. There’s no requirement that you must file for a limited divorce before you get an absolute divorce.

Fault-Based Divorce

Both limited and absolute divorces require grounds, and your options differ somewhat depending on which type of divorce you elect to file. Limited divorce grounds include cruelty or excessively vicious conduct, desertion, or constructive desertion. Constructive desertion means that you were forced to leave your spouse because of his bad behavior or because he severed the marital relationship. There are no statutory time limits for fault grounds for limited divorce. Absolute divorce grounds are similar to those for limited divorce, but they also include adultery. If you file on grounds of desertion, you must wait a year after you or your spouse left the home. Insanity on the part of your spouse or conviction of a crime that involved imprisonment are also grounds for absolute divorce in Baltimore.

No-Fault Divorce

Maryland’s no-fault grounds is separation. The state changed its legislative code in 2011, so spouses now only have to live separate and apart for a year to qualify. Separation is also grounds for a limited divorce, but you don’t have to wait a year to file. Separation involves actually living in two separate residences with the understanding that the marriage can’t be saved. See full post here…

There are different ways to divorce your partner. All you need to do is to choose the one that suits both of you in terms of the personal, emotional and financial aspect of your married life. Another important issue that must always be raised are the assets with which the couple had bought such as a house. The question is, Who gets to keep the house, or what could be the possible settlement on this issue.

Kevin L. Beard of KLB Law office explains thoroughly who gets the house and other assets in a Maryland (or a Baltimore) divorce. Refer to the article below to know more.

Who Gets To Keep The House In A Maryland Divorce?

Anyone going through a divorce in Maryland should understand the state’s laws when it comes to dividing property.

In order to obtain an absolute divorce in Maryland, the divorcing couple must meet certain grounds, such as having voluntarily lived apart for a year or one spouse has committed adultery. Once a court has the reason for an absolute divorce, it can grant property division.

Property division in Maryland is not based on what is equal, but rather on what is fair. Anyone who is ending a marriage should have a firm grasp on how the division process will go.

Understanding marital property

Only assets that are considered marital property will be eligible for division. Marital property is generally any item that is obtained after the marriage. However, certain items, such as inheritance and gifts from a third party, may be accepted. Additionally, it is possible for some non-marital property to become a marital asset. For example, if one spouse had a savings account prior to marriage and then commingled it with a joint account, those funds would likely be considered marital assets.

Dividing assets

A couple ending their marriage has the ability to try to determine their own plan for asset division. Through a process such as mediation, the spouses can work together to divide all their property, from bank accounts and cars to dishes and linens. The court will have to approve the agreement, however, and ensure that it is fair.

If the couple cannot reach a fair agreement, the court will make the determinations. The law states that when dividing property, a judge may take into account the following:

  • How much every asset is worth
  • Spousal support payments
  • The current economic status of each spouse
  • What each spouse contributed to the marriage
  • How long the marriage lasted
  • The mental and physical health of both parties

The law also gives a judge flexibility to take into account any other factor that a party may present. Further, it is possible to divide assets based on value rather than splitting them. Therefore, one spouse may get to keep the house, and the other may be granted equal funds in a savings account. Or, the couple could decide to sell the home and divide the proceeds accordingly.  Learn more here…

There you have it; your guide in filing a divorce in Baltimore. You did know already that a law was passed in Baltimore city to ease the entire process, you also at least identify the type of divorce you want to file. Lastly, couples must divide their assets and must reach a fair agreement on what to do with these properties.

Most of the time, couples in Baltimore who have been divorced sell their homes and divide the proceeds to his/her partner. If you’re looking to sell your house fast in Baltimore for the reason of having a divorce, then Dependable Homebuyers can help you with it. Just visit https://www.dependablehomebuyers.com and we’re glad to be of help.

Dependable Homebuyers
1402 Belt St, Baltimore, MD 21230
(443) 266-6247

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