Divorce Guide

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Maryland Divorce Cases


Maryland divorce cases deals with the issues and requirements of a divorce in the state. Under Maryland law, one has the right to represent himself/herself in all legal cases, including divorce.

The circuit courts have jurisdiction to hear divorce cases within Maryland. Generally, a circuit court with jurisdiction for one’s case is the circuit court in the county where either of the spouses lives. When a spouse files the papers, he/she must state his/her grounds for that court to have jurisdiction. If the grounds are not stated correctly, then the other spouse could file a motion to dismiss the case.

Residency requirements for a Maryland divorce

In order to start the divorce process, one must file a complaint in the circuit court where either of the spouses lives. In the complaint or at the hearing, one has to meet the residency requirement. As each state has its own residency requirements, divorce laws apply only to the residents of the state.

  • On must be a resident of Maryland for one year if voluntary separation without cohabitation is the ground for divorce.
  • Either of the spouses must be a resident of the state at least for a year before filing for divorce. However, after filing for divorce both of them could move anywhere in the world.

One does not have to remain at the same address to fulfill his/her residency requirement. A person could move anywhere within the state from which he/she is filing. A spouse only needs to give proof of his residence during separation in the final hearing.

Grounds for divorce

There are two types of divorces in Maryland. They are: Absolute divorce and Limited divorce. There are 6 grounds for a court to grant an absolute divorce:

  • Adultery
  • Desertion
  • Voluntary separation
  • Criminal conviction
  • Two year separation
  • Insanity

A marriage could be completely dissolved if any of the grounds mentioned above are proved.

There are 4 grounds for a court to grant a limited divorce:

  • Cruelty (against the complaining party or his/her child)
  • Excessive cruelty
  • Desertion
  • Voluntary separation

A limited divorce does not completely terminate one’s marital status, even if any of the above mentioned grounds are proved. In order to do so, one must either seek an absolute divorce or an annulment.

Adultery in Maryland divorce cases

A sexual intercourse by a person outside his/her marriage is known as adultery. Cunnilingus or fellatio, which the law defines as sodomy, in Maryland is neither a ground for divorce nor is considered as adultery. The sexual intercourse must involve some kind of penetration of the female organ by the male organ. A completion of sexual intercourse is not required.

In Maryland, most adultery cases are proven by circumstantial evidence, which means that one has to prove that his/her spouse, had the opportunity to commit adultery.

The issues that matters most in Maryland divorce cases are discussed above and will probably help one to get a fair idea of a Maryland divorce.


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