When dealing with divorce cases, there are two types of divorce hearings in Maryland: an uncontested and a contested hearing. An uncontested hearing is the easiest and least expensive of the two, but sometimes a contested hearing is unavoidable. Here are the differences between these two hearings.
An Uncontested Divorce Hearing
An uncontested divorce hearing in Maryland is when both parties agree to divorce. In most of these cases, the spouses will have needed to have already agreed upon, drafted, and signed a separation agreement prior to the hearing. This agreement details how the custody of any minor children will be handled and which covers the fair distribution of property and financial matters. If both spouses can agree on all points within their separation agreement and sign it, then it will be an uncontested divorce hearing.
A Contested Divorce Hearing
If the separating spouses cannot agree on the terms of their divorce, it can lead to a contested divorce hearing. Most of the time, disagreements revolve around financial issues, how property will be distributed or who will get custody of the children and in what manner. Even if some aspects of a divorce are resolved amicably, if the couples can’t agree on the terms for their divorce settlement, it will lead to a contested divorce.
What Happens at a Hearing?
At the hearing, the plaintiff must attend and, in some cases, provide a copy of the marriage certificate, the signed separation agreement (if applicable), and some sort of proof that the plaintiff lives in Maryland (a W-2 would suffice). During the hearing, the plaintiff must provide their testimony to the judge and field some questions. The defendant can attend but has the ability to waive attendance and “give up” their appearance. Then, once all is said and done, the final agreement will be put on record and you may be divorced that day, or shortly thereafter.
Legal Counsel for a Divorce Hearing
It’s important to seek legal counsel for your divorce case regardless of whether it will lead to an uncontested or a contested divorce hearing. There are many aspects of the preparation stages and the separation agreement where it makes sense to have a lawyer present. A Maryland divorce lawyer will be able to provide you with expert advice to help you obtain the best outcome possible.
Here at Okun/Billian PA, we are Maryland divorce lawyers who can represent you and your interests during this difficult time. For a consultation to discuss your specific circumstances, give Okun/Billian PA a call at 410-654-1717 or fill out this form today!
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