No Fault Divorce Basics in Maryland

No Fault Divorce Basics in Maryland

In the past, in order for a married couple to legally divorce in the state of Maryland, one spouse had to prove that the other spouse acted in a way that would elicit a reason for a divorce, such as committing adultery or abuse, or a number of other offenses or misconduct.

As we all know, there are many other complicated reasons why a couple may no longer wish to be married, but that leave neither party at fault. How are these couples supposed to dissolve such marriages that simply are not working?

The real issue with traditional divorce cases

In order to be granted a fault divorce, one spouse would be left with the burden of proving the other spouse’s misconduct. This would often lead to false accusations, private marital matters drawn out into the public eye, and extremely messy divorce battles that neither party wanted, but were required in order to end a marriage.

When only fault divorces were granted, not only were the court systems strained with lengthy proceedings, but many couples felt trapped in unhealthy and unhappy marriages, leading to a poor living environment for themselves as well as children or other family members.

The “no-fault” alternative for divorce

The solution to this problem is the no fault divorce, which is allowed in every state including Maryland. No fault divorce law enables married couples to divorce without the need of providing a reason, pointing the blame at one of the parties, or even misconduct at all.

Each state has its own rules pertaining to how to obtain a no fault divorce. If the couple has been living in Maryland, for example, in most cases they must prove to have been living separately for at least 12 months in order to meet the requirements for a no fault divorce. The courts only require evidence that the couple has not been living together and therefore not engaging in sexual intercourse, for at least a year.

Benefits of no-fault:

No fault divorce processes can often be much faster and simpler than fault divorces. If the couple has simply grown apart and feels that it would be in their best interest to dissolve the marriage, it is possible to go through an uncontested divorce process and settle issues such as the division of property outside of court. Family court may be necessary if complicated issues such as child custody and support are involved.

In the end, no fault divorces have certainly helped couples dissolve their marriages in a much more amicable and healthy fashion. While the divorce process is always emotionally challenging, it can be much less traumatic when there is no requirement to place blame.