Our top pick: 3 Step Divorce
- For uncontested divorces
- Pay a flat-fee of $299
- Ready-to-file divorce forms
- Court approved forms or your money back
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To get a divorce in Maryland, you or your spouse need to have either lived in Maryland for at least six months, or the reason for your divorce needs to have happened in Maryland. From there, you have a few options for how you go about completing your divorce papers and filing them with the courts — from going the DIY route, to using an online divorce service to hiring an attorney to do the legwork for you.
The requirements to get divorced in Maryland depends on where the grounds for divorce occurred. Here’s how it breaks down:
Once you meet one of these criteria, you can begin the divorce process by filing a divorce complaint.
Yes, it’s possible to get a divorce in Maryland without going to court. The easiest way to accomplish this is through an uncontested, no-fault divorce, in which you and your spouse agree to the terms. You simply fill out your divorce papers on your own or with the help of an online divorce service or attorney and file the documents with the courts.
If you and your spouse are struggling to come to an agreement on terms, you can try mediation, arbitration or collaborative divorce before hashing it out in a courtroom.
It will cost you $185 to file your divorce petition with the court if you use an attorney or $165 if you represent yourself. This doesn’t include additional court fees charged by your county, the cost of photocopies or postage expenses.
You should also budget extra costs if you plan to hire an attorney, use an online divorce service or need to go through arbitration or mediation to come to an agreement with your spouse. Here’s an idea of how much you might pay for the various avenues available.
Depending on which online divorce service you use and the scope of the work needed, you can expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $1,500. Though some high-end services charge upwards of $3,000 to $6,000 for extra conveniences, including serving your spouse the divorce papers and filing your legal forms for you.
The average cost of a divorce in Maryland is between $11,000 and $13,500 when hiring divorce attorneys, according to a study by Martindale-Nolo Research.
Though this cost could drop down to just a few thousand dollars if your divorce is relatively simple, or balloon to over $20,000 if you have a complicated divorce with lots of assets or child custody disputes.
Most divorce lawyers bill per hour — with the average hourly rate in Maryland ranging from $260 to $325. One way to lower this cost is to negotiate a flat fee with your attorney instead of paying an hourly rate.
Handling your own divorce could cost you next to nothing besides the $185 court fee — but what you save in money you’ll pay for in time. That’s because it’s on you to research the divorce process, track down the right legal forms, fill them out and submit them to the courts.
Aside from the filing fee, you might encounter a few other miscellaneous expenses:
You can ask the court to forgive the filing fee by completing the Request for Waiver of Prepaid Costs form. You’ll need to submit a signed affidavit of your income and expenses and state that you’re unable to afford the costs because of poverty.
If the judge grants your waiver, the court will process your divorce case. If the court denies your application, you’ll have 10 days to pay the court costs, or it’ll withdraw your claim.
You can expedite the process using an online divorce service if you and your spouse agree to divorce. You’ll typically follow these steps:
Online divorce services roll different perks and services into their pricing. Use the table below to compare your options to find a provider that best fits your needs and budget.
If you pursue a no-fault divorce, you and your spouse need to either have a signed settlement agreement or have been separated for one year before you can file for divorce. There’s no mandatory waiting period to get a divorce in Maryland if you’re filing for an uncontested no-fault divorce.
But if you and your spouse disagree on your divorce terms, the process could take much longer. Issues that could lengthen the divorce process include:
According to a study by Martindale-Nolo Research, the average divorce takes 12 months to complete with divorce attorneys or 15 months if children are involved. How long it ultimately takes you to complete your divorce depends on have quickly you and your spouse can come to an agreement on the terms. If that’s done relatively fast, you could complete the divorce process in as little as a month with the help of an online divorce service.
You can file for divorce in Maryland for eight different reasons:
No matter what grounds for divorce you choose, you’ll need to meet the Maryland residency requirement before you can file. The most affordable divorce method for uncontested divorces is either doing it yourself or using an online divorce service. Contested divorces can still opt for an online divorce service after you’ve sorted out any contested issues through mediation or arbitration.
For more help throughout the process, read our comprehensive guide to divorce.
Do my spouse and I need to live in Maryland to get a divorce?
No. Only one of you needs to live in Maryland to get a divorce.
Can I still get a divorce if my spouse doesn’t want to get one?
Yes. Your spouse can’t stop you from getting a divorce. If your spouse chooses not to work with you on the divorce, you will receive a default judgment — meaning the divorce will be completed along the terms you set.
Can I still get a divorce if I can’t locate my spouse?
Yes. However, you first need to make an exhaustive good-faith effort to locate your spouse. For example, you might check telephone listings or use private investigators or look through property records.
If you still can’t find your spouse and if a judge rules that you’ve reached your search limit, you can initiate service by publication. This means you publish a divorce summons in a newspaper. If your spouse doesn’t respond, you can go ahead with the divorce without your spouse’s participation.
Do my spouse and I need to live in the same county to get a divorce?
No. Only one spouse needs to live in Maryland.
What is limited divorce?
Limited divorce allows for a couple to separate and asks the court to address issues, including child custody and financial support, but it does not legally end your marriage.
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