Frequently Asked Family Law Questions

What are the Grounds for Divorce in Maryland? 
In order to get a divorce in Maryland, you need to prove one of the grounds in the Maryland Code Family Law Article 7-103. The most common is a no-fault one year separation. Other grounds include adultery, desertion for 12 months, constructive desertion, cruelty of treatment, excessively vicious conduct, insanity, or one party being in jail for an extended period of time.

Effective October 1, 2015 a new ground for divorce,  “Mutual Consent” has been added in the state of Maryland.

What exactly is a legal separation?
The short answer is that separation is defined as not having sexual relations and not sleeping under the same roof.  The long answer is that ‘legal separation’ is a layman’s term which means different things to different people.

I’m confused about the types of Child Custody in Maryland. What’s the difference between legal and physical custody?
Legal Custody is the power to make big decisions for your minor child, such as what school they should attend, whether they should get an elective surgery, or whether they should see a therapist or not.

Physical custody is where your minor child is physically present at various times.  It can be called joint custody, sole physical custody with visitation to the other parent, shared custody, etc.  In the end, it boils down to where your minor child spends the night.

How is Child Support calculated in Maryland?
Child Support in Maryland is calculated using the Child Support Guidelines. These guidelines take the parties’ monthly incomes and current custody arrangements into account to determine the amount that is presumed to be correct.  This figure is adjusted based on health insurance, medical expenses, daycare expenses, and alimony or other child support payments.  The Courts can choose a different figure, but they must explain the circumstances which justify deviation from the guidelines.

My life has changed and the custody order doesn’t make sense anymore but the other parent won’t agree to change it.  What can I do? 
In Maryland, custody and other child support orders can always be modified.  There needs to be a material change in circumstances since the previous order was entered into (i.e.: a move, a remarriage, job change, etc.) You will also need to show that the change that you are requesting is in the best interest of your child(ren.)  To request a change in the custody or child support order, you will need to file a petition with the Court.