Coover Law Firm, LLC is an established practice with more than 38 years of experience in family law matters, including divorce and divorce-related issues like child support. Do not settle for inexperience in this difficult time; trust our firm to deliver the best result for you and your child.
Mr. Coover is a knowledgeable, compassionate, and communicative attorney. Call (410) 553-5042 to learn more about his approach.
Divorce doesn’t have to be messy and spiteful – with the help of an attorney, your separation can proceed smoothly and respectfully. An experienced lawyer will provide you with a sense of security in knowing that your best interests are spoken for.
Changes to Maryland divorce law
Maryland’s new divorce laws will be effective October 1, 2023. If you are going through or plan to go through a divorce proceeding at this time, it’s important for you to understand these changes:
- The new law removes fault-based grounds for divorce: adultery, desertion, and cruelty treatment; and adds irreconcilable differences.
- The only three grounds for absolute divorce will then be: (1) irreconcilable differences; (2) six-month separation; (3) mutual consent.
- The current 12-month separation period is reduced to 6 months and allows spouses to reside under the same roof during the divorce proceedings.
How much does a divorce cost in Columbia, Maryland?
No two divorces are the same, and neither are the costs associated with them. Regardless, we understand that financial worries can weigh heavily in a divorce. No matter your legal needs, our divorce lawyer in Columbia, MD strives to help you achieve a favorable resolution in your divorce case as cost-effectively as possible.
Contested or uncontested divorce is the greatest factor affecting the cost
Perhaps the greatest variable affecting the cost of a Columbia divorce is whether you and your spouse agree to the terms of your divorce.
When you both agree to all the terms, your divorce is considered uncontested. All you need to do is file paperwork with the Court outlining the agreed-upon details. On the other hand, if there is disagreement regarding even one of the divorce terms, the divorce is considered contested, and the Court will intervene to help resolve the dispute.
One of the ways we seek to keep divorce costs low is by exploring the possibility of an uncontested divorce. Uncontested divorces are typically less expensive and time-consuming than contested ones. This is because minimal legal representation is needed, and fewer resources are required to investigate or prove the facts of your case. If you and your spouse are able to agree on the terms of your divorce, Mr. Coover can help you save money by guiding you through the uncontested divorce process.
Why do I need a lawyer for divorce?
The outcome of your divorce will affect your personal relationships, financial stability, and quality of life for many years to come. Once the Court approves the final divorce documents, they are legally binding, and the decision can be difficult or impossible to change.
Unless you are represented by an attorney with experience in family law, you risk making mistakes that could cost you dearly. While the Court system is supposed to be impartial, you may need to advocate for yourself in order to have your interests taken into consideration. An experienced Columbia, MD divorce lawyer can do this for you and ensure that the terms of your divorce are fair.
Who pays attorney costs and fees?
In most cases, each party to a divorce is responsible for their own attorney costs and fees. However, it is sometimes possible to have one spouse pay for some or all of the other spouse’s legal costs through a Court order.
The Court is most likely to order one spouse to pay for the other’s attorney costs if there is a significant disparity in income. Malicious conduct by one spouse, such as the withholding of information, may also prompt the Court to order the other spouse to pay for their legal fees. If you believe you may qualify for this type of support, our family law attorney in Columbia, MD can help you explore your options and advocate for your best interests.
How we can help
The stakes are high in divorce cases, and it pays to have a dedicated legal advocate in your corner. Mr. Coover stands by his clients throughout each step of the Maryland divorce process, offering knowledgeable, compassionate legal representation you can count on.
Depending on the details of your situation, Mr. Coover’s legal services may include any or all of the following:
- Weighing your legal options and choosing the best path forward
- Completing and filing the initial divorce papers
- Compiling evidence in your favor
- Negotiating with the other party to seek an out-of-Court resolution
- Speaking on your behalf in Court hearings
- Helping you understand the terms of documents before you sign them
- Informing you of your post-divorce rights and responsibilities
With our guidance, you can face your divorce with confidence and ease. Leave the legal legwork to our Columbia, MD divorce lawyers, and focus on taking care of yourself and your family during this difficult transition.
Divorce process in Columbia, MD
Petitioner files for divorce
Once you and your spouse have met this minimum requirement, one of you must initiate the divorce process by filing a Complaint for Absolute Divorce with the local circuit Court. This filing party will be known as the petitioner. After filing, the petitioner will need to serve the documents to the other party, known as the respondent. This officially informs the respondent that divorce proceedings have been initiated and outlines the petitioner’s requests for the divorce.
Respondent answers petition
Once served, the respondent will have a limited amount of time (usually 30 days) to formally respond to the requests. In their response, they may indicate whether they agree or disagree with the requests and may submit counter-requests.
Agree or disagree
If they agree, the parties may proceed to submit a Marital Settlement Agreement to the Court for approval. If they do not agree, the Court may schedule a trial date, where both parties will present their case and a Judge will decide the outcome.
Length of divorce
The amount of time required to finalize a divorce depends on many factors, including whether the parties are able to come to an agreement and how complicated the issues are. The length of time required will also depend on each Court’s backlog of cases and the availability of Court personnel. The following factors can also affect the length of the case.
Mutual consent divorces
Under a new law effective October 1, 2023, Maryland allows for a 6-month separation to serve as grounds for a divorce, unless the parties cite irreconcilable differences or mutually consent to the divorce. Spouses may reside under the same roof during divorce proceedings.
The Maryland mutual consent law allows couples to skip the 6-month waiting period if they can present a written settlement agreement resolving the major issues of the divorce. This is Maryland’s formal version of an uncontested divorce, and it also is quicker to resolve than other divorce types.
If you pursue a mutual consent divorce, you can expect your divorce to be finalized within a couple of months of filing. Other types of divorce in Maryland can take anywhere from six months to several years to resolve.
Final documents in divorce
Whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, the final terms will be outlined in a document called a divorce decree. This document will list all of the terms and agreements of the parties or those that the Judge has decided, such as asset and debt division, alimony, child custody, and child support. It also serves as evidence that the marriage has been dissolved, which allows either party to remarry.
If you and your ex-spouse have minor children together, your final documents may also include a parenting plan. This document outlines the rights and responsibilities of both parents with regard to their children, such as custody arrangements, visitation schedules, and any provisions for relocation or travel.
Why choose Coover Law Firm, LLC
With so much at stake, you want a lawyer you can trust to help you navigate the complexities of divorce law in Maryland, like Mr. Coover. As a reputable Columbia, MD divorce lawyer, Mr. Coover has more than three decades of experience helping Columbia families build a secure future.
Coover Law Firm, LLC has a strong set of ethical standards and values, and we strive to provide the highest level of legal service. We do not take a one-size-fits-all approach — instead, we provide personalized legal advice that takes into account your unique circumstances and objectives. When you turn to our firm, you can expect to speak directly with your attorney, and your case will not be passed back and forth between associates like it might be at a larger firm.
Our Columbia, MD divorce lawyers are here to help
Facing divorce in Columbia, Maryland? Coover Law Firm, LLC will provide the advice and representation you need to protect your legal rights and work towards a favorable outcome for you and your family. Call our firm today to get started, and be sure to check out our resources for all of your divorce questions.