Frequently Asked Questions About Maryland Divorce

What is the difference between and limited and absolute divorce in Maryland?

A limited divorce is similar to what many people would refer to as a legal separation: it governs the rights and responsibilities of spouses who live apart, but does not actually end the marriage relationship.

An absolute divorce is what most people think of when they refer to divorce; it completely severs the marriage relationship, divides property and debts, and establishes child custody, spousal support (if any), parenting time, and child support.

What are the grounds for divorce?

There are a number of grounds for divorce in Maryland. They are:

  • Divorce by mutual consent
  • Twelve-month continuous separation without cohabitation
  • Adultery
  • Desertion
  • Cruelty of treatment
  • Excessively vicious conduct
  • Insanity
  • One spouse having been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor with at least a three-year sentence.

Do I have to live in Maryland to get a divorce?

To get a divorce in Maryland, the grounds for the divorce must have occurred in Maryland, or at least one of the parties must have resided in Maryland for at least six months prior to filing.

Can I get divorced right away?

Yes, so long as you and your spouse do not have minor children together; you have entered into a written separation agreement; and you both appear at the divorce hearing. If you meet these criteria, then there is no waiting period to get divorced under the ground of mutual consent.

If I have minor children, or don't have a separation agreement, how long do I have to wait to get divorced in Maryland?

In Maryland, the parties typically must live separate and apart without cohabitation for twelve consecutive months before an absolute divorce can be granted. There are some grounds for divorce, like adultery, that do not require a waiting period, and you can also get divorced immediately if adultery is proven.

How do I prove that my spouse committed adultery?

In order to obtain a divorce based on the grounds of adultery, you must prove that your spouse had the disposition and opportunity to commit the act. Circumstantial evidence is allowed to prove the adultery so long as it establishes both the disposition and the opportunity to commit the act. Private detectives, e-mails, photographs, and testimony from the paramour can all be used to establish the ground for adultery.

If you would like more information, or if you have a question that was not answered here, we invite you to contact us at (301)637-6070 or using our online contact form to schedule a consultation.