If you live in Maryland and you wish to divorce your spouse, there are two different ways you can go about it: you can choose either fault or no fault grounds for your divorce. There used to be a 12 month waiting period in Maryland if you wanted to file for a no fault divorce, but that law was recently overturned. If your spouse is incarcerated, however, you have grounds for a fault-based divorce. If the person is already in prison serving a term of 12 months or longer, this will not be difficult to prove.
If you and your spouse are in agreement about all aspects of the divorce with regard to the custody of any minor children, the division of assets and debts and spousal support (if that applies in your case), your Annapolis divorce attorney can file the petition for divorce and then arrange to have your spouse served with the paperwork. In order to arrange to serve your incarcerated spouse, you must get his or her inmate number and use a private process server and a sheriff, who will accompany the process server to the prison and inform the inmate that he or she is being served. The process server will then complete an Affidavit of Service of Process. You will then file this affidavit with the court.
After your spouse has signed the petition, your attorney will draw up the settlement agreement, which you can deliver to your spouse to review and sign. After he or she has signed the settlement agreement, your attorney will file it with the court along with any other necessary documents and schedule a court appearance. You will appear before the judge and answer questions while you are under oath about your marriage and the divorce agreement that you and your spouse have come to. At the end of the hearing if all goes as planned, the judge will bang the gavel and grant your divorce.
What if your incarcerated spouse refuses to cooperate?
If all of that sounded too easy, you have probably guessed that divorces seldom transpire so smoothly. However, regardless of how much they contest it and how uncooperative they try to be, once you have filed the petition for divorce, your spouse cannot prevent you from obtaining a divorce even if it ends up being by default. They can stall and delay and make the process difficult, but in the end, if someone wants a divorce, the other partner cannot remain married to that person.
Your best advice whether your spouse is incarcerated or not is to hire an experienced Annapolis divorce attorney who will be an aggressive advocate for your best interests; follow their guidance and be patient with the process, and you can reach your goals.
Dealing with divorce is never easy, but working with the right divorce attorney can make the process more manageable for you. Our skilled divorce lawyers at Cynthia H. Clark & Associates, LLC will represent your interests and fight for the best outcome possible. We take the time to listen to your concerns and then we present you with legal options that fit your unique circumstances. You are welcome to contact our firm or call 410-990-0090 to reserve a consultation time in our Annapolis office.