Family laws cover a variety of topics involving marriage, divorce and family care and protect the rights of every individual in your family.
If you have a family law case in Baltimore, Salisbury, Bethesda or elsewhere in Maryland, LawInfo is your source for information and legal help. LawInfo’s Maryland Family Law section includes legal overviews, summaries of state laws and other resources to help you make the right decisions for you and your family.
If you need help navigating the complex laws governing your case, a Maryland family law attorney can help and treat your case with the sensitivity it deserves.
In Maryland, certain people are prohibited from marriage. Maryland outlaws these certain relationships because of the ethical, health and criminal concerns they present. Prohibited marriages in Maryland include:
As you and your partner plan your wedding day, make sure you plan to apply for a Maryland marriage license. A marriage license is required to legalize your marriage under Maryland law.
You should be aware of the particular time constraints concerning a marriage license so that they don’t conflict with your plans. Once you receive your license, you must wait 48 hours before performing your wedding ceremony. After the waiting period, you will have six months to perform your ceremony before the license expires.
Both Maryland residents and non-residents must apply in-person for a marriage license before a county clerk in the county where the ceremony will take place.
Divorces can happen for a number of reasons regardless of the fault of any party. In Maryland, you could file for either a “fault” or “no-fault” divorce.
No-fault divorces can be beneficial for child custody and visitation decisions among other interests since fault can affect what a divorcee is eligible to keep or receive from the marriage. A no-fault divorce is granted on either of two grounds:
Divorces granted on fault grounds typically involve one spouse accusing the other of marital misconduct in a court petition. A divorcee’s misconduct could potentially affect the benefits or rights they’re eligible to. Maryland permits the following divorce fault grounds:
Many divorcees may think that they are entitled to half of everythingóproperty, savings, securities, etc.óthat they and their exes attained or invested in during their marriage. While this may be true in some states under “community property” laws, Maryland doesn’t work that way.
Spousal ownership in marital propertyóany property attained during the marriage except for personal gifts and inheritancesóisn’t evenly shared in Maryland. Hence, a divorce court may not distribute marital property evenly between divorcees. Instead, property will be distributed equitably, meaning that while one spouse may receive a smaller portion of marital property, it is a fair distribution.
Unless you and your spouse agreed to how property will be divided in a mutually consented, no-fault divorce, the court will base its property distribution decision based on several factors, including:
Whether you need a family law attorney depends on a number of factors specific to your case. There is no one-size-fits-all answer. Few couples need a lawyer to get married but attorneys may be required if there’s a prenuptial agreement involved.
Individuals often benefit from hiring an attorney when dealing with divorce, child support, and especially child custody matters. Because emotions can run high during some divorces, hiring an attorney to negotiate and resolve difficult issues can be invaluable.
Many lawyers offer free initial consultations, so it may be worth your time to speak with an experienced Maryland family law attorney if you have additional questions.