Divorce Guide

Divorce Guide


Maryland No Fault Divorce


According to Maryland divorce laws, one can obtain divorce on the grounds of “fault” or “no-fault” grounds. Maryland no-fault divorce laws specify that a couple can obtain divorce if the couples are mutually and voluntarily separated for one year from each other. The term “irreconcilable differences” which is an important ground for divorce in most other states is not applicable in the state of Maryland. It is nowhere listed in the grounds for divorce.

Separation in Maryland no-fault divorce

If you wish to file a divorce on no-fault grounds in the state of Maryland, you must ensure that you have signed a “legal separation” document in the court. By the term “separation”, the meaning is not having sexual relationship nor living under the same roof.

Mostly couples sign a “legal separation” document which separated them from each other for a year and a “real divorce” can be obtained after the year ends. They get a “limited divorce” so that they are awarded temporary child custody, temporary spousal support but are not allowed to remarry. Couples must never file for divorce after a year of separation because the court trial date may come much later, eating up a lot of their time. Thus, they must enter into a voluntary and mutual separation agreement much earlier to have a “time advantage”. If there is no scope of reconciliation between the couples then they would be awarded “absolute divorce”.

In some other cases, if a couple are remaining separate for 2 years without cohabitation then also they would be awarded “absolute divorce”.

Residential requirements in MD no-fault divorce

According to MD no-fault divorce laws, at least one party in the marriage must have resided in the state for one year from the date of filing the divorce. If the grounds of the divorce had occurred in the state, then divorce can be filed from there even if the earlier residential requirement is not fulfilled.

Filing for no-fault divorce in Maryland can be from any county that either spouse resides in the state.

Choosing “no fault grounds” or “fault” grounds

In the state of Maryland, you may file a case of divorce on the grounds of “no-fault” or “fault” grounds. Most of the people choose “no-fault” grounds for divorce because the entire process of divorce is much quicker compared to the “fault” grounds of contesting the divorce. Moreover. It is less antagonizing on both the spouses, avoid them to face ugly court battles and also prevent their children from witnessing the bitter court case.

If you are sure that you will have an edge over your spouse regarding child custody or spousal support or property division when you prove the “fault” grounds in the court, then only you must file the case on “fault grounds”.

Child custody in MD no fault divorce

Most of the spouses wish to settle the matter of child custody and child support “outside the court” in no-fault divorce cases. In such situations, they may be asked to participate in “child custody mediation” to formulate a parenting plan, visitation schedule etc. If there are differences between the spouses regarding this matter then the courts would intervene. Courts try to award custody of the child considering the best interests of the child. If a spouse contests on the factor that the other parent is incapable of taking care of the child or his/her presence has damaging effect on the child, then custody matter would be analyzed in the court to ensure safety and welfare of the child.

Property division in MD no fault divorce

Maryland is an ‘equitable property division state” where both the spouses would get an equitable and fair share of property acquired after the marriage. “Separate property” which a spouse had acquired before the marriage would not be divided and would be given to the spouse who had gotten it in the first place. In most of MD no fault divorce cases, spouses are willing to settle the matter of dividing the property among each other “outside the court” just to avoid the financial burden of a contested divorce case. But if judicial intervention occurs, then a judge would attempt to settle the matter by considering the length of the marriage, financial resources of the spouses etc while dividing the property among the spouses equitably.

You may attempt to have a DIY divorce if your divorce is no-fault and an uncontested one. But be ready to understand all the divorce laws of the book so that you don not end up in a legal mess which something you never anticipated. In case the divorce is a contested one, it is better to seek the advises of an attorney.


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