Dealing with the pain and finality of divorce is one of the most difficult challenges that many couples end up facing, especially where there are children involved. The financial implications of a final divorce settlement make getting it right crucial. And custody arrangements, visitation and child support need to address what is in the best interest of the child.
Every state has different requirements and grounds for divorce, as outlined by state law, and it helps to know where to find basic information on procedures and filings for divorce in Maryland. But having skillful and compassionate legal representation to guide you through every aspect of divorce, whether it is the financial implications, custody or alimony that are at stake, is also very important.
Grounds for divorce
There are basically two kinds of divorce in Maryland, absolute and limited divorce. An absolute divorce will end the marriage and allow both parties to remarry. A limited divorce is a filing that does not end the marriage, but does enable the court to adjudicate issues like child custody and the division of property.
While there is the option for a no-fault divorce in Maryland, there are also several other grounds for divorce. The no-fault, or mutual consent, divorce requires that the spouses can demonstrate that they have been separated involuntarily for two years or voluntarily for 12 months. While the separation itself is a ground for divorce, in Maryland the status of legal separation does not exist.
Other grounds for divorce are:
- Desertion of at least 12 months, that is deliberate and where there is no expectation of reconciling
- Conviction of a felony or misdemeanor in any state
- Insanity that involves one spouse’s confinement in an institution for at least three years
Once a case has been opened by one spouse, the other spouse has 30 days to respond if they live in Maryland. If they live in another state at the time of filing, they have 60 days, and if outside of the United States, 90 days, to respond.
For a divorce to proceed in Maryland, at least one spouse must be a resident of the state at the time of the filing. If the grounds for divorce did not take place in Maryland, one spouse must reside in the state for at least six months. There is also no waiting period for divorce, as once all requirements are met, the court will grant an absolute divorce.