Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the grounds for divorce in Maryland?

Maryland provides for two different kinds of divorce. A limited divorce is not permanent and does not provide for a final division of property. It also does not allow for remarriage. It is essentially a court-governed separation. The grounds for a limited divorce include the following:

  • Desertion
  • Cruelty toward spouse or child
  • Parties are living separate without cohabitation 

An absolute divorce dissolves the marriage, provides for a final division of property, and allows for remarriage. The grounds for an absolute divorce in Maryland include the following:

  • Mutual Consent – no separation or waiting period required if (a) there are no minor children, (b) all marital property issues have been resolved, & (c) both parties appear for hearing.
  • Adultery
  • Uninterrupted desertion for one year, without the expectation of reconciliation
  • Uninterrupted separation for 12 consecutive months
  • Cruelty of treatment toward spouse or child
  • Excessively vicious conduct toward spouse or child
  • One spouse receiving an indeterminate jail sentence or a sentence of three years or more and serving at least 12 months in jail
  • Permanent and incurable insanity

2. What is an uncontested divorce?

An uncontested divorce is one where there are no issues for a judge to decide. The parties have already entered into a property separation agreement, or they have no children and no property. The only decree sought is the divorce. With the assistance of Mr. Zerivitz, an uncontested divorce can be obtained quickly at a very reasonable cost.

3. How long does it take to get a divorce?

In the Baltimore metropolitan area, a final judgment of divorce could be granted within 90 to 120 days if your spouse is cooperative and there are no issues for a judge to decide. Only a short hearing is required. If there is mutual consent of the parties a divorce can been granted in a shorter period.

4. What is marital and non-marital property in Maryland?

Marital property includes most property acquired by you or your spouse during your marriage, regardless of the name in which the property is titled.

Non-marital property includes property:

  • That either one of you brought into the marriage
  • That you or your spouse received during the marriage through an inheritance
  • That you or your spouse received during the marriage as a gift from a third party
  • That you and your spouse agreed would remain separate property
  • That is traceable to non-marital property sources (For example, if you purchased a house fully with money that you received through an inheritance from your grandmother, that house remains non-marital property)

5. How is property divided in a divorce in Maryland?

Maryland is an equitable division state. This means that if you and your spouse do not reach a settlement agreement, the court divides your marital property in a manner that it deems fair. The court considers a number of factors in making this determination, including the following:

  • Contributions by each spouse (monetary and non-monetary) to the well-being of the family
  • The value of all property interests of each spouse
  • The economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the award is to be made
  • The circumstances that contributed to the divorce
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The age of each spouse
  • The physical and mental condition of each spouse
  • The effort expended by each party in accumulating the marital property
  • Any award of alimony
  • Any award of other property, including the family home
  • Any other factor that the court considers necessary or appropriate to consider in order to arrive at a fair and equitable distribution

6. How much does a divorce proceeding cost?

The cost of a divorce depends entirely on the complexity of the issues involved: the higher the complexity, the higher the cost. I always strive to help my clients resolve their cases in the most effective and efficient manner possible.

7. Can’t my spouse and I use the same attorney?

Even if your divorce is amicable, your interests conflict with your spouse’s interests. For that reason, an attorney cannot ethically represent you both. If you decide to rely on your spouse’s attorney, you are on your own. Your spouse’s attorney’s allegiance is only to your spouse. Given the high stakes at risk in divorce proceedings, you should secure your own legal counsel to protect your interests.

8. How is child support calculated?

Maryland law sets forth child support guidelines that judge’s are to use in calculating each parent’s child support obligations. These mandatory guidelines take into account many factors, including the following:

  • Gross monthly income of the parents, including alimony paid or received
  • Amount of time child lives with each parent
  • Cost of health care insurance
  • Any extraordinary medical expenses
  • Child care and visitation transportation expenses
  • Other types of support paid by non-custodial parent
  • Other expenses (such as private school tuition)

9. For how long must I pay child support?

Unless you and the other parent agree to a longer period of time, child support obligations end when the child reaches 18 years old (the age of majority). Your child support obligations continue until the child graduates from high school or reaches 19 years old, whichever occurs first.

10. Who is responsible for my child’s health insurance?

The child support order should establish which parent is responsible for maintaining health insurance for the child. The order should also address how to divide uninsured medical expenses.

11. If the other parent is not current on his or her child support, can I withhold visitation?

No. The right to visit your child is separate from your obligation to pay child support. If the other parent is not paying his or her child support, you must go through the appropriate enforcement channels. If you withhold visitation, you could be held in contempt for not obeying the court’s visitation order.

12. If I am the custodial parent can I waive my right to receive child support so that I do not have to deal with my child’s other parent?

No. In Maryland, the right to child support is a right of the child, not a right of his or her parent. A parent cannot waive the right to receive child support.