Maryland Maryland

Divorce Law Guide

Maryland Divorce Overview

Residency Requirement
Living Separate & Apart
Processing Time
Filing Fee
12 months
12 months
360 days

The facts about divorce in Maryland

Divorce, or dissolution of marriage, is the legal process of severing a marriage contract, which is overseen by a court of law in the state in which one or both of the divorcing spouses live. The process for getting a divorce and acceptible grounds for divorce vary from state to state.

In Maryland, a divorce can be completed on average in a minimum of 360 days, with court fees of $135.00. The state has divorce residency requirements that require the spouse filing for the divorce to have lived in Maryland for a minimum of twelve months.

On this page, you can learn about Maryland's grounds for divorce, how the divorce process works, and about other parts of the divorce process, such as Maryland alimony calculation, the property division process and more.

Maryland Divorce Law Summary

What are the Grounds for Divorce?

The state of Maryland, the one wanting the divorce must have lived in the state for one year before the court will consider a petition. Once done, the person wishing a divorce can file.

Maryland does not have a divorce option, but it has an extensive collection of reasons that a divorce can be sought. The reasons as stated by the state are:

(1) Mutual Consent (no minor children with signed Marital Settlement Agreement)

(2) adultery

(3) desertion, if:

(i) the desertion has continued for 12 months without interruption before the filing of the application for divorce

(ii) the desertion is deliberate and final

(iii) there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation

(4) voluntary separation, if:

(i) the parties voluntarily have lived separate and apart without cohabitation for 12 months without interruption before the filing of the application for divorce

(ii) there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation

(5) conviction of a felony or misdemeanor in any state or in any court of the United States if before the filing of the application for divorce the defendant has:

(i) been sentenced to serve at least 3 years or an indeterminate sentence in a penal institution

(ii) served 12 months of the sentence

(6) 2-year separation, when the parties have lived separate and apart without cohabitation for 2 years without interruption before the filing of the application for divorce

(7) insanity if:

(i) the insane spouse has been confined in a mental institution, hospital, or other similar institution for at least 3 years before the filing of the application for divorce

(8) the cruelty of treatment toward the complaining party or a minor child of the complaining party, if there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation

(9) excessively vicious conduct toward the complaining party or a minor child of the complaining party, if there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation."

To begin the process, the person seeking the divorce must find out what paperwork is required and file it with their county court.

Maryland Divorce Guide - Frequently Asked Questions

In state of Maryland a number of factors are taken into account when ending a marriage.

1. Maryland Grounds for Divorce FAQ

Is Maryland a no-fault divorce state?

Maryland allows no-fault divorces, which means that a divorce is granted without establishing the fault of either spouse for causing the divorce. Grounds for a no-fault divorce in Maryland may be "irreconcilable differences", or similar grounds.

Does Maryland allow at-fault divorces?

In addition to no-fault grounds for divorce, Maryland is a fault divorce state which provides the option to file for a traditional at-fault divorce. Suing for an at-fault divorce alleges that the filer's spouse is the cause of the divorce due to engaging in one of Maryland's at-fault divorce grounds, such as adultery, abuse, or insanity.

In some cases, an at-fault divorce is pursued because it can entitle the suing spouse to a greater share of marital property or even punitive alimony payments if their partner's fault is proven. If their spouse contests these allegations, they may be challenged in court, which can lead to a lengthy and expensive legal process.

Does the state of Maryland allow incompatibility as grounds for divorce?

The state of Maryland does not allow incompatibility to be reason alone for having a divorce.

Can you get a divorce in Maryland for living separate and apart?

In divorce law, "living seperate and apart" refers to married spouses who are living separate from each other, not engaging in a traditional marital relationship, and do not intend to repair the marriage.

In Maryland, married couples who have been living separate and apart for a minimum of twelve months may be granted a divorce on these grounds when sued for by either spouse.

2. Maryland Divorce Process FAQ

Does state of Maryland allow legal separation?

Legal separation (otherwise known as "judicial separation") is a legal process that enables spouses to be de facto separated while remaining legally married.

In some cases, Maryland will grant a judicial separation court order to a married couple who wishes to live separately. This order may settle issues generally handled in a divorce such as property division and alimony. A legal separation may be followed up by a full divorce, or the spouses may later reconcile and end the separation while remaining legally married.

What's the difference between a divorce and an annulment in Maryland?

While a divorce is the process of exiting a legally valid marriage, an annulment is the process of rendering a marriage null and void. An annulment makes it legally as if a marriage never took place to begin with.

Generally, annulment is used to conclude a marriage that should not have been legally recognized in the first place, such as a marriage where one of the spouses was unable to consent (by virtue of being underage, due to mental incapacity, or even intoxication), a marriage that was entered into under duress or via fraudulent means, or when one of the spouses was already legally married.

How long do I have to live in in the state of Maryland to get a divorce?

The state of Maryland requires that spouses suing for divorce to have lived in the state for a minimum of twelve months prior to filing divorce papers. Otherwise, Maryland courts are not considered to have jurisdiction over the divorce case.

What is the filing fee for a divorce in Maryland?

The court fees for filing the paperwork for a basic divorce in a Maryland court is $135.00. However, the total costs for a divorce can be much higher - especially in the case of a contested divorce, where attorney fees and mediation costs average from $15,000 to $20,000 or more.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Maryland?

If the process moves along without holdups, the paperwork for a divorce in Maryland can be processed in a minimum of 360 days. However, if the spouses are not in agreement about the divorce process, a contested divorce can take significantly longer.

3. Maryland General Divorce FAQ

Can my spouse stop me from getting a divorce?

Even if one spouse is opposed to getting a divorce, they cannot stop their partner from filing for and receiving a divorce in Maryland. While filing a non-contested joint petition for divorce speeds up the process, either spouse can file for divorce individually at any time.

Maryland permits spouses to sue for an at-fault divorce, and in this case their partner can contest the allegations in court. A non-fault petition for divorce, however, can generally not be contested by an unwilling spouse in Maryland.

Does Maryland have any limitations on remarriage after a divorce?

Maryland has no mandatory waiting period between the finalization of a divorce and either of the ex-spouses getting remarried. Remarriage following a divorce may affect the continued payment of alimony.

What is the divorce rate in Maryland?

According to the most recent CDC study, the yearly divorce rate in Maryland is 8 per 1,000 total population. The national divorce rate is 6.9 per 1,000 total population. Various studies suggest that nationwide, 30% to 50% of all marriages end in divorce.

Does Maryland recognize same sex divorces?

Maryland recognizes both same sex marriages and same sex divorces. The process of getting a seme-sex divorce is the same as a heterosexual divorce.

| State Law Official Text

** This Document Provided By MaritalLaws **