Maryland Family Law provided by Mulinazzi Law Offices

Two Types of Divorce in Maryland: Limited versus Absolute Divorce

Two types of divorces in MarylandMaryland recognizes two kinds of divorce: limited and absolute.  There are a number of significant differences between the two types and certain circumstances in which to file for one versus the other.  The attorneys at the Mulinazzi Law Office can sit down with you to discuss which is best to file for under the facts for your particular case but in general:

1.   Limited Divorce --- A limited divorce is not a divorce at all; instead, it’s a legal separation from bed and board – pending the outcome of the final divorce (called “Absolute Divorce” see below).  In a Limited Divorce spouses can receive relief from the Court on only certain specific issues.  These include: custody, child access, child support, exclusive use and possession of the family home, alimony, and attorney’s fees.  It is important to know, that property issues are NOT resolved at this time (pensions, 401ks, house, etc.).

Post Judgment Divorce Options

Post judgement divorce optionsYou’ve gone to Court and the Judge has issued a Divorce Decree that you think is unfair, or you are otherwise unhappy with it.  Can you appeal the Judge’s decision?  Yes, there are a number of avenues you can take that our firm can help you with.  The rules for filing an appeal are very strict, especially concerning the processing of the appropriate legal documents.   For instance, failure to submit a brief in the correct format, or a mistake in how the brief and appendix are to be prepared, could cause the clerk's office to reject the submission.  When a client is serious about winning an appeal, enlisting the services of an experienced attorney is crucial.

Our attorneys evaluate your case and determine which option from the below list is the best option to change the results in your case.

How Does the Court Determine an Award of Alimony?

AlimonyAlimony, also called spousal support or maintenance, is one of the more difficult issues to tackle during the divorce process.  With the exception of child custody and child support, no other issue is as personal or emotionally charged to divorce litigants.

Alimony is based on the premise that during a marriage, both spouses have an absolute obligation to support each other financially during the marriage and alimony is a continuation of this obligation after separation or divorce.  Accordingly, an alimony award is a vehicle for the Court to equalize the income stream of the parties after divorce for a determined period of time.

What is Discovery and Why is it Necessary?

DiscoveryDiscovery is necessary because what you know is not as important as what you can prove.

Discovery is the phase of litigation in which both sides request information from one another. The purpose is to learn about each position taken by each side to facilitate a settlement or, if a settlement is not possible, to get as much information as possible to be used at trial.

There are two main types of discovery in Family Law cases: Interrogatories and Requests for Production of Documents. These requests must be made formally and sent to the other side or his/her lawyer.  Once received, the Maryland Rules state that you have thirty (30) days to answer.  There is a prescribed format for answering these discovery requests and you may find that you will need an attorney to help you ask for discovery and to respond to the other side’s discovery requests of you.  Please note that you are required to respond to these requests and failure to do so may result in various sanctions against you.

Assets and Liabilities: What’s Mine and What’s Yours?

Assets and liabilitiesMaryland is an equitable distribution state which means that the court will equitably divide and distribute the marital property and liabilities in a divorce action.  Equitable means “fair”; it does not always require a 50/50 split.

Nevertheless, the presumption is that the distribution should be equal unless there is a justification for an unequal distribution. The court will analyze a number of statutory factors to determine if an unequal distribution of assets and/or liabilities is justified. Marital fault is only one of many considerations that a Judge will look at if s/he decides to unequally distribute the marital assets.