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Divorce in Maryland

If you live the state of Maryland and are facing a divorce, you should speak with an experienced divorce attorney who handles cases in your particular area.  If you are in Rockville, Gaithersburg, Bethesda, Kensington, Olney, or any of the surrounding areas, you want to talk with an attorney who regularly represents parties in divorce cases in Montgomery County, Maryland.  

How to Get a Divorce in Maryland

One of the questions frequently asked in initial consultations is what are the grounds for divorce in Maryland.  In a Maryland divorce case, it is possible to file for either a no-fault divorce case or a fault-based divorce case.  It should be noted that in the District of Columbia, the legislature has done away with fault-based divorce, but that option is still available in Maryland.  However, it is far more common for parties to file for a no-fault divorce these days.

How to Obtain a No-fault Divorce in Maryland

In Maryland, there is means by which a couple can obtain a no-fault divorce.  This requires, pursuant to the Family Law Article of the Maryland Code, the parties must live apart for one year prior to filing for a divorce.  The parties must actually live in separate residences and not engage in sexual conduct with each other or otherwise act like a married couple for that entire year.  If you do engage in marital relations with your spouse during that one year, the timer will reset to day one, and you must wait another full year to file.  It is important to note, that, while you may have to wait a year to file for divorce, it may be necessary to file for child custody and/or child support much sooner and then file for divorce once you are eligible.  

What is Fault-Based Divorce?

In Maryland, you can file a divorce based upon what are known as fault grounds.  You would file it, generally speaking, in the county in which you live.  For example, if you wanted a divorce and lived in Bethesda or Rockville, you would file for divorce in Montgomery County.  

Fault grounds are based upon the common law reasons one was allowed to file for divorce.  Some of these include the following:

•    Adultery
•    Criminal Conviction
•    Cruelty
•    Actual Desertion
•    Constructive Desertion

However, it should be noted that these fault grounds have definitions and requirements that have been shaped by both common law (case decisions) and by statutes created by the legislature and passed into law by the governor.

In the case of criminal conviction as a grounds for divorce in Maryland, your spouse must have been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor and has been sent to prison for a period of at least three years.  There is also a requirement that your spouse must have served at least one year of that sentence before you file for divorce.  It should be noted that in most divorce cases, even if there is sufficient fault grounds to file divorce on that basis, it is likely preferable to file on no-fault grounds.  The reasons for this is because it is becoming a national preference of divorce courts to handle cases on a no-fault basis.

If you need assistance with a divorce case or any other family law matter in the District of Columbia or Maryland, please contact the Law Offices of Daniel A. Gross for a consultation.