In Maryland, obtaining a divorce used to require a spouse to prove fault-based grounds such as desertion, adultery, insanity, convictions of a crime, cruelty of treatment, or excessively vicious conduct. If none of these grounds could be proven, then the couple had to be separated for 12 months or create a written agreement that resolved issues related to child and spousal support, custody, and property division. However, as of October 2023, these requirements no longer apply. Couples are now able to obtain a no-fault divorce on more achievable grounds, and Maryland judges are authorized to grant such divorces. 

md divorce law

What Does It Mean To Obtain a Divorce in Maryland? 

Divorce, also known as absolute divorce in Maryland, occurs when the court legally ends a marriage. The court will enter an order, referred to as a “divorce decree” or “decree,” which will also settle issues related to the following: 

  • Alimony or spousal support 
  • Child support 
  • Marital property division 
  • Child custody issues (also known as decision-making authority and parenting time) 

Only once the divorce is finalized will the couple be able to remarry. However, if you have any questions regarding this process or want to know more about obtaining a divorce in Maryland, consider reviewing your questions with an experienced Maryland divorce attorney. 

New Grounds for Divorce in Maryland 

As of October 1, 2023, the new grounds for divorce in Maryland include the following: 

  • Six-month separation  
  • Irreconcilable differences (the couple agrees they do not get along and cannot fix their marriage) 

It should also be noted that unlike the previous law, which required the couple to have lived separate and apart for a year, the new law will only require the couple to have “pursued separate lives.” This means they can still obtain a divorce if they are living in the same home. 

Mutual Consent 

Maryland will also keep its existing ground for divorce of “mutual consent.” This ground allows a couple to pursue a divorce without having to wait if they have a written agreement that resolves issues relating to property distribution, custody, alimony, and child support.  

Residence Requirement 

It is also important for couples to be aware of the residency requirement in Maryland when seeking a divorce. The law stipulates that at least one party must be a resident of Maryland to file for divorce in the state. However, the length of time required for residency before filing for divorce will depend on the grounds for the divorce. For instance: 

  • If the grounds occurred in Maryland, one party must have been living in the state when they filed for divorce. 
  • If the grounds happened in a different state, one party must have lived in Maryland for at least six months before filing for divorce. 

Contact Rice Law To Get the Legal Answers You Need  

At Rice Law, our skilled and dedicated family law attorneys are committed to providing our clients with all the necessary tools to achieve their goals, whether this means assistance with a divorce, protective order, or prenuptial agreement. We understand the intense emotions that can arise in these challenging situations, and we want our clients to know we are here to help them through the process.  

If you are considering pursuing a divorce in Maryland or want more information about the process and the requirements involved, contact Rice Law today or call us at 410-709-8971 to speak with a member of our team.  

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