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Do I need a separation agreement in Maryland in order to divorce?

Navigating the legal system within the area of family law can be incredibly challenging, especially if you're not used to the nomenclature used in the law and are as confused by it as most other people. On top of confusingly worded laws, Marylanders have to contend with the fact that our laws are always subject to change.

Because a majority of the population does not religiously keep up on the law, seeking assistance from a skilled family law attorney is not only recommended, it may be perfectly necessary in a majority of situations. Take for example separation agreements. Few people new to the divorce process know what can be included in these legal documents let alone where to look in the Maryland family law code to find out. This brings us to today's question:

Do I need a separation agreement in Maryland in order to divorce?

Unless you'd like to push forward with an uncontested divorce after waiting the appropriate 12-month separation period, the answer to this question is no, you do not need a separation agreement in Maryland in order to get a divorce. Separation agreements simply lay the groundwork for quick resolution of issues that will need to be discussed during divorce proceedings anyway, such as child custody and support, property division and the possibility of spousal support, just to name a few.

Though a separation agreement may seem simple enough to draft on one's own, any skilled family law attorney will tell you that they are anything but easy. Separation agreements can be incredibly complex for some couples; and in any case, a spouse could violate the terms of the agreement, which can lead to a lawsuit.

Talking to a lawyer before drafting and signing a separation agreement is highly advised, especially because getting legal representation is a surefire way of avoiding potential fallout due to a mistake.

Source: The People's Law Library of Maryland, "Separation Agreements," Accessed Oct. 14, 2015

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