You are in the process of moving forward with your Maryland uncontested divorce when suddenly, that court date marked in red on your calendar comes up quicker than you expected. While the uncontested divorce hearing itself is fairly simple, the notion of going to the court house can sometimes be intimidating or confusing. With this in mind, here a few tips and things to expect at your upcoming Maryland uncontested divorce hearing:
- The uncontested divorce hearing will take place at the Circuit Court in the county the Complaint for Absolute Divorce was filed (the address can be found on the Hearing Notice you previously received).
- Plan to meet your attorney approximately 10 minutes prior to the scheduled uncontested divorce hearing time.
- Once you enter the courthouse and go through the metal detectors, you will see TV screens that will list the hearing room assignment under your name.
- Unless specifically instructed otherwise by your attorney or the court, there is nothing that you need to bring with you to your uncontested divorce hearing in Maryland.
- The uncontested divorce hearing itself will take approximately 5-10 minutes; however, there is sometimes a wait for your case to be called due to multiple cases scheduled at the same time.
- During the hearing, your attorney, or the Family Law Magistrate, will be asking you questions related to the content of your Complaint for Absolute Divorce (e.g. when and where you were married, names and dates of birth of any children, date of separation, terms of any signed agreements between you and your spouse, etc.).
- The Family Law Magistrate is not a Judge and does not have the signature authority of a Judge. S/he will prepare a Written Report and Recommendation of the facts from the divorce hearing and their recommendation that the divorce be granted.
- Unless otherwise waived by both you and your spouse, there is a 10-day period for either you or your spouse to file exceptions (also known as an appeal) to the Magistrate’s Report and Recommendations. Once the 10-day period has elapsed, the Judgment of Absolute Divorce will be submitted to a Judge for signature.
- If both you and your spouse attend the final uncontested divorce hearing and are in agreement, you may choose to waive the 10-day exceptions period.
- The final divorce date will be once a Judge has signed the Judgment of Absolute Divorce and it has been stamped by the clerk’s office. The original gold-sealed Judgment of Absolute Divorce will be sent to your attorney’s office and then forwarded to you for your records.
- If you are requesting the restoration of a maiden/former name, you will need the final sealed or True Test Copy of the Judgment of Absolute Divorce to submit to Social Security and the MVA to change your name. If you did not request to the restoration of a maiden/former name at the time of your divorce hearing, you have up to 18 months from your divorce to make such a request without any additional court costs.
- If you or your spouse is to receive retirement benefits from the other pursuant to the terms of your agreement, a QDRO or other Retirement Order will need to be submitted to the court either at the time of, or after, your divorce hearing for a Judge’s signature. Upon receipt of the certified copy of the QDRO, your QDRO attorney will submit it to the plan administrator of the retirement plan so that it may be divided.
- If you are receiving child support that is to be paid through the Office of Child Support Enforcement, you will need to submit a certified copy of your Judgment of Absolute Divorce to the Office of Child Support Enforcement to effectuate these payments.
You will typically receive your final, stamped, Judgment of Absolute Divorce within approximately two to three weeks from the conclusion of your uncontested divorce hearing.
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, an uncontested divorce in Maryland, contact us today at 443-741-1147 or Schedule a Consultation.