Maryland Divorce Law 101: 5 Peculiar Aspects about How the Process Works in the Old Line State

DiPietro Law Group, PLLC

The divorce process differs considerably from one state to the next, so it is important to understand the peculiarities of divorce in your home state before you proceed. Detailed below are a few of the unique aspects of divorce you’ll encounter in Maryland:

  1. Legal separation is often referred to as limited divorce.

In most states, legal separation occurs when spouses choose to live separately while retaining many of the financial benefits associated with marriage. In Maryland, however, this phenomenon is known as limited divorce. Most couples pursue absolute divorce, in which the marriage is permanently dissolved.

  1. Couples must live separately for at least twelve months before they are eligible for absolute divorce.

A faster route to divorce may be available if the divorce is prompted by adultery, separation or cruel treatment towards the children of the complaining individual.

  1. Criminal conviction can only be grounds for divorce if the offender has been behind bars for twelve months.

Additionally, the spouse with the criminal conviction must have been sentenced to at least three years or be serving an indeterminate amount of time in a penal institution. Maryland grounds for divorce are similarly strict for cases involving insanity: the insane spouse must be confined to a mental institution for at least three years before filing the complaint; testimony is needed of at least two physicians competent in psychiatry that the insanity is incurable and there is no hope for recovery; AND one of the parties must have been a resident of MD for at least 2 years before filing the complaint.

  1. Adultery can occur in spite of limited divorce.

If one spouse has sex outside of the relationship while legally separated, he or she can be accused of committing adultery.

  1. Courts are not given a list of mandated factors to consider in custody cases.

In Maryland, custody cases have greater potential to be swayed based on a judge’s personal beliefs, as a list of mandatory considerations is not provided. Instead, judges look at all of the facts of each case before making a decision.

Divorce in Maryland can be complicated, but if you work with the Rockville divorce lawyers at DiPietro Family Law Group, you’ll receive much-needed guidance every step of the way. Contact us at (888) 530-4374 to learn more.

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