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How to File for Divorce Without Hiring a Lawyer in Maryland? via Market Business News

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When you think about getting a divorce, you might associate it with expensive lawyers.

You might wonder: is it possible to file for divorce without having to hire a lawyer? 

The simple answer is yes. 

But how? 

In this modern-day age, it is possible to get access to everything needed when filing for divorce, such as your divorce papers. 

There are also online divorce services available, which simplify the divorce process even further.

At the end of the day, whether you choose to get things done yourself or use an online service, it is possible to cut the expense of lawyers.

DIY divorce 

If you have decided to file for divorce, there are a few procedures you will need to follow. Here is what you can expect:

First of all, you need to check if you qualify to get a divorce. The requirements for a divorce in Maryland include: 

  • living separately from your spouse for the past 12 months before filing for divorce, 
  • or either you or your spouse has lived within the state for at least 6 months before filing.

Secondly, you need to state which type of divorce you want to proceed with and your grounds (or reason) for following through with it. These two aspects often go hand in hand. 

In Maryland, you may choose between an absolute divorce or a limited divorce. Although both cover the same aspects, the difference is that an absolute divorce will legally end your marriage. However, a limited divorce only serves to resolve issues such as child custody or finances. It does not legally end your marriage.

In the case of separation, the length of your separation will determine the legal grounds. Being classified as separated means having lived separately and not having engaged in sexual intercourse.

Reasons that may contribute to getting an absolute divorce may be extreme, for example, abuse directed towards the spouse or children, adultery, permanent and incurable insanity, imprisonment due to having committed a crime, abandonment, cruelty, excessively vicious behavior, etc. 

However, you don’t always need an extreme reason. For example, the court will accept a no-fault ground such as a mutual feeling that you are no longer compatible. 

Next up comes the complaint and answer section. The plaintiff or petitioner must complete some forms, which will include their ‘statement’ or ‘complaint.’ 

After filing these by the local circuit court, the defendant will be given copies, along with a “Writ of Summons,” which they must ‘answer,’ by either agreeing or disagreeing with the statements. The defendant has a 30-day limit to answer. 

The ‘answer’ must then be sent to the plaintiff in the form of an affidavit (no formal service is required for this).

Remember to keep extra copies of everything for safekeeping, and be sure to send the court copies of all documentation, especially the proof that the defendant has received all necessary forms. 

The only methods accepted by the court for the defendant to receive these documents include delivery by a person over 18 and someone other than the plaintiff, such as a  county sheriff or private process server. These professionals will, of course, charge a small fee for their services. Or you may request the court’s permission for service through certified mail, upon which you will receive a return receipt. 

If your spouse is in jail, the army, or missing, and you do not know their location, you can request the court’s permission to publish your divorce in the local newspaper. 

If your case includes child custody or alimony, you will be required to complete financial statements because the court will rely on these when making child and/or spousal support orders. These statements will include details regarding each spouse’s assets, liabilities, incomes, expenditures, joint property, debts, and so forth. 

Divorce papers – Which papers? And where to find them?

The forms you need to file may include: 

  • the Complaint for Absolute Divorce or Complaint about Limited Divorce;
  • Complaint-Counter for Absolute Divorce or Limited Divorce or Answer form;
  • Civil Domestic Information Report; 
  • Financial forms; 
  • Joint Statement of the Parties Concerning Marital and Non-Marital Property; 
  • Settlement agreement; 
  • Fee waiver forms; etc. 

You can find these forms on the Maryland Courts website and additional information on the Maryland Courts Family Law Self-Help Center page. 

Online divorce 

If the idea of having to collect all these divorce papers by yourself seems daunting, perhaps making use of an online divorce service should be your next option.

Online divorce was designed to make the divorce paperwork preparation process easier and more cost-effective. It removes the anxiety of worrying whether or not you completed all the forms and did so correctly

Typically, with online divorce tools, all you need to do is follow 3 easy steps. First, check your eligibility. Second, complete the questionnaire. And third, print, sign and file your forms. 

Online divorce provides the complete packet of accurate and up-to-date documentation required by the court, personalized to your state, child status, income, assets, etc. 

Usually, there are no hidden costs. You simply pay the once-off fee to start the process and make use of the affordable online assistance. 

However, there’s one other critical requirement. To qualify, spouses need to reach an agreement regarding all divorce-related issues. Such tools work only for uncontested divorce cases. 

Side notes 

Although none of what has been mentioned so far requires the use of a lawyer, you may want to consult a licensed Maryland attorney if you find yourself at a crossroad. For example, if you are unsure about your reasons for filing for divorce or have other questions. 

Key takeaways 

It is possible to file for divorce without having to hire a costly lawyer. 

You can choose between doing research and gathering all needed divorce forms yourself or allowing online divorce services to guide you through the process. 

When you think about getting a divorce, you might associate it with expensive lawyers. You might wonder: is it possible to file for divorce without having to hire a lawyer?  The simple answer is yes.  But how?  In this modern-day age, it is possible to get access to everything needed when filing for divorce, such […]

How to File for Divorce Without Hiring a Lawyer in Maryland? — Market Business News

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