One of the most commonly asked questions we get at Jacobson Family Law is: Can I get divorced without going to court? Most people assume that you have to go to court if you want to get a divorce in Maryland but that is not entirely true. While you will need to attend a brief uncontested divorce hearing, you do not have to rely on the court to make decisions for you and your spouse. You and your spouse can work out all of the details on your own through one of the following alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods.
Do-it-Yourself (DIY) Agreement
You and your spouse can work out the details of your separation agreement on your own. Your separation agreement should address how you and your spouse intend to handle the following issues:
- Child custody
- Financial support including child support and alimony
- Property Division (bank accounts, vehicles, personal property, home, and retirement accounts)
Once you have agreed upon the terms of your separation agreement, you should have an attorney prepare separation agreement (also known as a Marital Settlement Agreement) before signing it to ensure that you understand your legal rights and obligation.
Divorce mediation is a process where a trained mediator (often a family lawyer or therapist) helps you and your spouse work out your differences. Mediation allows you to craft an agreement that works best for you and your family. The goal of mediation is reach a resolution and have the terms your included in a written agreement.
Mediation is a less expensive and less stressful way to resolve your disputes. Mediation can take place either in person or online and may include attorneys, though they are not required.
Collaborative Divorce is a process that allows you and your spouse to resolve your differences with the support of a collaborative team. The collaborative team includes collaboratively trained attorneys, mental health professionals, financial professional, etc. The Collaborative Team signs a participation agreement that requires a commitment to keep the matter out of court.
This team approach focuses on helping the parties work together, both now and in the future. Collaborative Divorce prioritizes the needs of children and maintaining respect during negotiations.
Through settlement negotiations, you and your spouse will rely on your respective attorneys to negotiate the terms of your separation agreement without the need for you and your spouse to communicate directly with one another. This approach can be helpful when spouses are unable to effectively communicate with each other or if there is a power imbalance between the parties.
Do I Have to Go To Court?
If you and your spouse are able to successfully reach an agreement that resolves all issues between you, you may immediately get an uncontested divorce based on the ground of mutual consent. This ground for divorce does not require you and your spouse to be separated. Maryland requires you to attend a short, and possibly remote virtual, uncontested divorce hearing in order for your divorce to be finalized.
Jacobson Family Law is committed to Keeping the Drama Out of your Divorce by avoiding lengthy, drawn out court proceedings. If you have questions or are interested in pursuing a Maryland divorce without going to court, contact us today at 443-741-1147 or Schedule a Consultation.