Rockville Divorce Lawyers

Fault vs. No-Fault Divorce in Maryland

If you live in the state of Maryland and have decided to get a divorce, you will need to file the case in the county in which you live or work. For example, if you live in Bethesda and plan on getting a divorce, you would have to file the case in Montgomery County. If you live in Upper Marlboro, you would have to petition the court for a divorce in Prince George’s County.

Wherever you live in Maryland, you can file for a divorce based upon fault grounds or no-fault grounds. You should speak with your Rockville divorce attorney to see what the most appropriate grounds to file a divorce would be in your particular case.

For a confidential review of your case by a skilled professional, contact DiPietro Law Group, PLLC today!

No-Fault Divorce

You can file for an absolute divorce under a no-fault theory if you have been separated for at least one year prior to filing and there is no reasonable hope you will be able to reconcile with your spouse and fix the marriage. Under the Maryland Code Section 7-103, during the year of separation, the parties cannot live under the same roof for even one night and cannot engage in sexual intercourse. If the parties do either of these things during the year, the clock resets, and they must wait an additional year.

Uncontested Divorce in Maryland

As of 2015, couples in Maryland who do not have minor children may file for uncontested divorce. This allows the spouses to avoid the one-year waiting period previously required under no-fault divorce. In order to file for uncontested divorce, each spouse must agree on the various terms of the divorce, such as alimony and property division.

Additionally, a recent bill passed by the State House and Senate, SB 120, allows parents of minor children to avoid the one-year waiting period so long as they can agree on child custody, child support, alimony, and property division. The two spouses/parents must still maintain separate residences, though they are no longer required to do so for a period of 12 months before the divorce is finalized. In order to achieve a successful uncontested divorce, the two spouses must agree on all outstanding marital and child-related issues.

Fault Grounds for Divorce

If you are filing a divorce, you can also file based upon fault grounds. In Maryland, the following fault grounds are applicable when filing for divorce absolute:

  • Adultery: If your spouse has sexual intercourse with someone else, and you can prove this, you can obtain a divorce based upon adultery. It should be noted, the Maryland Code states that adultery requires your spouse to have had intercourse with a person of the opposite sex; however, the Attorney General for the state of Maryland issued a legal opinion that stated a same-sex extramarital affair would constitute adultery as well.
  • Actual Desertion: If your spouse left you more than a year ago with the intent of ending the marriage, and you have had not had sexual intercourse with your spouse or spent a night under the same roof since, you can file based on this ground. There is also what is known as Constructive Desertion, where your spouse essentially forced you to leave the home, and you have not lived together for at least 12 months. There is also the requirement that you live apart and not engage in sexual intercourse during this year.
  • Criminal Conviction: If your spouse has been convicted of any criminal charge and has been sentenced to at least three years in prison and has already served at least one year of that sentence, you can file for divorce on this ground.
  • Cruelty: If your spouse has endangered you or your child physically or mentally on more than one occasion, and there is no reasonable chance you can reconcile, you can file for a divorce in Maryland based upon this ground.

Divorce may present many complex issues that will need to be resolved if you are to face a stable future. To find out how you can accomplish this, contact our Rockville divorce lawyers.

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