Fuckin' Maryland Divorces, How Do THEY Work?
September 27, 2012 7:55 AM Subscribe
Asking for a very dear friend, YANAL/YANHL/TINLA/OMG/WTF: my friend wants to divorce her emotionally-abusive husband. He doesn't want a divorce and intends to fight her tooth and nail. They live in MD. What to do?
posted by julthumbscrew to law & government (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
My friend already has a lawyer - however, the lawyer is monstrously expensive and money is tight (for reasons to be clarified shortly). Looking for GENERAL legal advice on obtaining a divorce in Maryland. From what we can tell, Maryland will ONLY grant a divorce if one of the following conditions is met: adultery, desertion (constructive or actual), voluntary separation, criminal conviction, two-year separation, or insanity.
Herein lies the rub: my friend and her husband own a home and have two small children. They both work and make comparable salaries. She wants a divorce because he is emotionally abusive and controlling. HOWEVER, neither of them can leave the marital home (he refuses, she won't for fear of him claiming desertion). Neither of them is adulterous, criminal or insane. They are currently residing on separate floors of their home. Her husband has withdrawn all financial support (apart from paying for 3/4 of the mortgage). She pays for 90% of all child-related expenses (food, clothing, babysitting, activities, etc). As such, she's unable to save money to either, 1. Afford her lawyer, OR, 2. Accumulate a down payment for a separate residence. Thus, she's in a vicious Catch-22: can't afford to move out/pay lawyer's retainer until court grants child support/alimony... but can't get court to grant child support/alimony UNTIL she's moved out of the residence.
And thus, my question: how in the holy hell do people with combatative, bitter spouses but WITHOUT a lot of cash obtain a divorce in Maryland? The ONLY way that comes to mind at present is for her to take out a loan, move out with the kids and claim "constructive desertion" (basically, that he made it impossible for them to live together), but we're not sure how the courts generally view those claims (in other words, what evidence will she need to produce?).
Thanks so much for your help, HiveMind.