Howard County, MD Divorce Lawyer
In Maryland, divorce can sometimes be a relatively simple process, especially if both sides agree to the terms of the divorce. However, when the divorcing spouses are unable to reach an agreement, things can quickly become messy and complicated. In either situation, it’s critical that you consult with an experienced divorce lawyer as soon as possible to make sure that your interests are represented fully. Decisions made in the early stages of the divorce process can greatly impact the ultimate outcome of the divorce process and have lasting consequences for years to come.
Fred L. Coover, Esquire is a Howard County, MD divorce lawyer who has been serving families in Columbia, Maryland and beyond for over 30 years. He understands the ins and outs of the law, and aggressively advocates for his clients to ensure that their interests are protected. Call Coover Law Firm, LLC today at 410-553-5042 to arrange a time to discuss your unique situation. To learn more about the purpose of the initial consultation, please click here.
Divorce and Legal Separation in Maryland
In a proceeding for separation or dissolution of marriage (A.K.A. divorce) in Maryland, the parties must come to an agreement on important issues such as the division of marital property, payment of spousal support or alimony, child custody and visitation, and payment of child support. If the divorcing couple cannot reach a resolution on all of these matters, either amongst themselves or with the assistance of a mediator, then they will be decided by the family court judge following a trial on the issues.
The court has the discretion and authority to rule on matters in the best interest of the children, or based on the most persuasive arguments made by the parties’ attorneys. Even the outcome of child support, which is normally based on statutory guidelines and formulas, may be decided based on the needs of the couple and their children as presented in court.
As such, it’s essential to have a knowledgeable and experienced Maryland divorce lawyer who knows the judges and Family law magistrates, and understands the nuances specific to your local court system. If you live in Columbia, Clarksville, Ellicott City, Fulton or other surrounding areas in Howard County, MD, click here for general information about the Circuit Court for Howard County. The Howard County Courthouse is located at 8360 Court Avenue, Ellicott City, Maryland 21043 (click here for directions).
Absolute vs. Limited Divorce in Maryland
In order to be granted a full divorce in Maryland, known as absolute divorce, you have to be able to prove that at least one legally accepted reason, or “ground” for divorce, exists. Examples of fault-based grounds for divorce in Maryland include adultery, desertion, cruelty, excessively vicious conduct, and specific criminal conditions. If you are unable to prove the existence of one of the fault-based grounds for divorce, you can pursue a “no-fault” divorce.
In October 2015, Maryland updated its laws to include a new option for no-fault divorce – “Mutual Consent”. A divorce by mutual consent has no waiting period or separation requirement, encourages divorcing couples without minor children to work out the terms of their divorce by written agreement, and rewards them with a quick, and relatively inexpensive, absolute divorce.
For couples with minor children, or those who are otherwise not eligible for a divorce by mutual consent, an absolute divorce can be granted on the grounds of a 12-month physical separation. Currently, this is the most common grounds for divorce in Maryland.
While you are separated, you may still need the protection of the courts to issue court orders, or approve a legally enforceable agreement, on matters such as child custody, child support and property division. A limited divorce offers such legal boundaries. Parties can later obtain an absolute divorce once they meet all of the requirements, which will enable them to enter into a romantic relationship or marry another person.
Other reasons for a legal separation or limited divorce include situations in which the parties cannot divorce for religious reasons, or need to stay married for tax or financial reasons, but still wish to live apart. Also, with a limited divorce, the couple leaves open the option of reconciliation, at which time they can come back together and still be legally married.
If you are facing separation or divorce in Howard County, MD, the team at Coover Law Firm can provide the advice and representation you need to ensure that your rights, interests, and family are protected during this emotional time.
Help with Divorce, Separation and Post-Divorce Issues in Maryland
At Coover Law Firm, we are here with you every step of the way, and will advocate for you on every issue relevant to your divorce. We make sure that all property is located, correctly identified as marital or separate property, and accurately valued for a fair property settlement. On important matters such as custody or support, we make sure your voice is heard and your needs are met. We also assist clients in post-divorce modifications or enforcement of domestic relations orders where necessary.
If you are seeking a divorce lawyer in Howard County, contact the Coover Law Firm today to schedule an initial consultation at our office, conveniently located across from Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD. Call us at (410) 553-5042 or complete the form below.
For directions to our office, please click here.