Maryland’s Divorce Laws

Maryland’s Divorce Laws

If you are facing the possibility of going through a divorce, it is a good idea to get more information about the process and laws governing the state in which you reside.  For those seeking more information about the divorce laws in the state of Maryland, we offer the following information:

Residency Requirements

You or your spouse must be a resident of the state of Maryland to file for a divorce, and the divorce is filed in the county where one of you resides.  If the grounds for divorce occurred outside the state, a one year waiting period to file may apply. If insanity is the grounds for divorce, there is a two year waiting period.

Grounds for Divorce

Either both parties must agree to grounds for the divorce, or those grounds must be proven in court. Typical grounds for divorce in Maryland are the same as in most other states and include adultery, desertion, voluntary separation, conviction of a felony or misdemeanor under certain sentences, two year separation, insanity, and cruelty to the spouse or a minor child of the complainant, or excessive vicious conduct toward the complainant.
However, if you are your spouse are members of the active military, special rules apply in the cases of military divorce.

When is separation the appropriate course?

Before moving straight to divorce, most states require at least some period of separation in order to give the couple a chance to resolve their issues.  Separation is usually defined as living separately, with no co-habitation.  In other words sleeping together in the same house but different bedrooms does not constitute separation.  The requirements for separation vary depending on the type of divorce you are seeking.

Primary documents

A Bill for Divorce and a Decree of Divorce are the primary documents needed to begin and finalize a divorce. In addition, there could be another 10 to 20 documents needed for the filing.

Court Clerk

Your paperwork will be managed by the Office of the Clerk of the County Circuit Court depending on which Maryland county you live in. This office will inform the attorneys and the involved parties throughout the proceedings of any additional paperwork that may be needed or any other requirements.

Property Distribution

Maryland is an equitable distribution state, meaning that marital property will be divided equitably. This does not mean equally. It is an attempt to distribute property fairly. The court encourages the parties to reach a settlement between them. If not, then the court will make the decisions.

Spousal support

Spousal support is decided upon a case by case basis via an agreement by the parties or by a decision of the court.

Restoration of name change

If a party took a new name upon marriage and wishes their name restored to their pre-marriage name, the court will do so. Some conditions will apply.

Child Custody

Custody of children may be awarded solely or jointly in the best interests of the involved children. There are no automatic consideration factors. However, there are a number of factors that will be considered and govern custody.

Child Support

Child support guidelines in Maryland are based upon the Income Shares Model.  Support will be determined proportionally, and the court will determine which spouse will pay the other for such support.

Local Maryland communities we serve

The Law Firm is located in Annapolis, Maryland but practices in all Maryland court systems, federal courts and immigration courts in Baltimore and Greenbelt.

  • Arnold
  • Severna Park
  • Crownsville
  • Davidsonville
  • Crofton
  • Gambrills
  • Odenton
  • Pasadena
  • Edgewater
  • Anne Arundel County

Don’t wait to ask for help

Even if both parties can come to amicable agreements, it is always a good idea to consult a lawyer in the case of divorce as many of the decisions made during the divorce process can have effects that last a lifetime.  Call the attorneys at the Rodriguez-Nanney Law Firm in Annapolis today to learn more about Maryland’s divorce laws and how they may apply to your specific case.