Maryland law requires everyone who wants to file for absolute divorce to explain their reasons by filing acceptable grounds for divorce in Maryland. Since filing for absolute divorce is essentially dissolving a legal contract, the court wants to ensure that the decision is legally justified and that both parties have considered the potential implications. It is important to fully understand your own reasons for wanting a divorce, and to evaluate how your specific ground for divorce affects the divorce process in your case under Maryland law.
What Are The Grounds For Divorce In Maryland?
Although the law requires you to give the formal reasoning behind your decision, you will be able to get a divorce if you choose to do so. There are a wide range of acceptable grounds for divorce in Maryland, including a “catch-all” ground that simply requires the parties to be separated for a designated period of time. Some other acceptable reasons for divorce include:
- Conviction of certain crimes
- Actual desertion
- Constructive desertion, which occurs when one spouse stops carrying out the normal responsibilities of a marriage relationship
- A 12-month separation
- Excessive vicious conduct toward the spouse
- Mutual consent, which requires that both spouses reach a full and complete separation agreement that finalizes all aspects of the divorce (this option is only available for childless couples)
As you can see, there are a variety of potential grounds for divorce in Maryland. A case for divorce will need only one ground, although others may apply. In addition, there are specific grounds for a limited divorce, and specific grounds for an absolute divorce in Maryland. Read our fuller explanation of the types of divorce in Maryland for more details about these distinctions.
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Will I Need To Wait For My Divorce?
Establishing valid grounds for divorce in Maryland is only the beginning of building your divorce case. Under divorce law in Maryland, the period of time that you will need to wait before filing your divorce case depends entirely on the reason for divorce.
For instance, many couples list separation as their grounds for divorce in Maryland. This is also known as a “no-fault” divorce because neither party is levelling an accusation of mistreatment or adultery against their spouse. In order to apply for a no-fault divorce in Maryland, you must have lived apart from one another for at least twelve consecutive months. You must also be able to prove to the court that you do not reasonably expect to resolve your differences or begin living together again.
If the ground for divorce in Maryland is simply mutual consent (that both spouses want to get a divorce), the court does not require a waiting period. However, in those cases couples must present a full separation agreement that resolves all potential conflicts between them. And the ground of mutual consent is only available to couples who do not have any minor children. In those cases, the divorcing couple must use a different ground for divorce, such as a 12-month separation. As you can see, grounds for divorce in Maryland can be a complex topic to understand. It is important to know your rights and to have a solid understanding of what the court will demand from you.
If you are considering a divorce for any reason, you will have a lot of questions and doubts in your mind that need to be answered. An experienced divorce attorney, like the ones at Zirking and Schmerling Law, can put your fears to rest and advocate for your best interests in court. For more information about grounds for divorce in Maryland, call us at 410-753-4611.