Going through divorce is never an easy process. It doesn’t help that there’s a great deal of confusion regarding the actual legal steps and requirements along the way. This guide will offer some insight specifically into Maryland divorce FAQs for individuals and couples residing in the state.
What are the grounds for absolute divorce in Maryland?
Maryland recognizes a handful of different grounds for absolute divorce. The first is a 12 month continuous separation period, during which the two parties have been residing separately, in separate places of abode, without martial relations or cohabitation, continuously and uninterruptedly for the entirety of the separation period. After this, a complaint for absolute divorce may be filed.
One new avenue that applies to certain couples is that of mutual consent. With mutual consent, there is no minimum separation period. However, it only applies to parties who have no minor children in common, and those who have a signed, legal separation agreement or Marital Settlement Agreement, which has resolved all issues arising out of the marriage, including but not limited to alimony and division of marital property.
Beyond those two, there are other grounds for divorce. These include adultery, cruelty, desertion, excessively vicious conduct, insanity, and the conviction of certain crimes whereby the party is incarcerated for three years or more.
What’s the difference between absolute and limited divorce, as well as fault and no fault, and contested vs. uncontested divorce?
-Absolute vs. Limited Divorce: Absolute divorce is the official legally decreed end to a marriage. Limited divorce is utilized in certain circumstances, usually when the Parties cannot establish grounds for an Absolute Divorce. However, with a Limited Divorce, the marriage is not officially terminated and the Parties cannot remarry.
-Fault vs. No Fault: There are different grounds for either fault or no fault divorce. In Maryland, the 12 month separation and mutual consent decrees are both no fault divorces, while the other grounds for absolute divorce discussed above are considered at fault.
-Uncontested vs. Contested: Uncontested divorces are those in which the two parties have come to their own solution, either before filing for divorce, or during the divorce, whether through mediation or negotiation, by way of separation agreement or Marital Settlement Agreement.
What are the rules for separation and separation agreements for Maryland divorce?
Separation agreements are not required in the state of Maryland, although they are helpful in certain circumstances. As far as separation periods, the 12 month separation period is one ground for absolute divorce, while mutual consent has no separation period requirement.
Of course, this has all been a very brief overview of some of the most pressing frequently asked questions about divorce in Maryland. For more information on your own case or circumstances, be sure to consult with an experienced attorney in your area who can provide you with guidance on your best course of action.