Explore Topics

Steven T. Greenblat, Esq.
10 Deckman Ct.
Silver Spring, MD 20906
Phone: 301-233-3477
Fax: 301-460-1373

Separation Topics

Separation | Mediation | Possession of Property | Domestic Vioience

SEPARATION

Maryland requires a one year period of separation if the separation is voluntary, otherwise the Divorce can not be obtained until a separation of two years. The parties can not remain in the same household to be considered separated. Separations can be managed two ways. The easiest and least expensive is through a mutual Marital Separation and Property Settlement Agreement. This is a contract which sets out the various rights and obligation of each party regarding child custody, support and visitation, and the division of property. Once the Agreement is executed the parties can enter into new relationships or acquire separate assets free from the influence of the other spouse. If the issues can not be worked out voluntarily, the parties can ask the Court to determine the issues through a proceeding called a Limited Divorce. The Limited Divorce acts as a Court ordered separation agreement and is often much more costly financially and emotionally because the issues are contested.

MEDIATION

I gladly offer non-binding, mediation services to couples who want to attempt to resolve the issues of separation and divorce without the need for litigation. Mediation allows both parties to come before a neutral attorney who will explain the law, how it applies to the couple's particular situation, and what the probable outcome would be if there were to be a trial. The mediation process allows the parties to maintain some control over the outcome and is successful about fifty percent of the time.

USE AND POSSESSION OF PROPERTY

Under certain circumstances, a spouse can ask the court to grant the use of the family home and property to enable a child of the family to continue to live in the environment that is familiar to the child, and to provide for the continued occupancy of the family home when there is a need to remain in the home. This award can be for up to three years and can require the other spouse to maintain the mortgage, taxes, utilities and other expenses related to the home.

PROTECTION FROM DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

The Courts can provide protection for household members who have been threatened, injured or abused by another household member. A petition is filed and a judge will hear the allegations. If there is a finding of abuse, the judge will issue a protective order which requires the abuser to have no contact with the victim and to vacate the residence. There must be a hearing within five days of the abuser's receipt of the order to determine if a protective order should be issued. If a determination is made that there is a need for further protection, the Court can issue an order to the abuser to vacate the family for up to thirty days at a time. During that time the abuser can be ordered to participate in professionally supervised counseling and to assist in the financial support of the family. Violations of domestic violence protective orders can result in criminal prosecution and imprisonment.