In Maryland, there are two types of divorce recognised by the state; an absolute divorce and a limited divorce. An absolute divorce is the permanent ending of a marriage declared by the court. While a limited divorce is only a legal separation and does not officially end the marriage. In order to get an absolute divorce, the plaintiff must file on a ground. There are two grounds for separation. Maryland has eight which tend to overlap. The time for an absolute to divorce to take place depends on which ground the spouses file a divorce on.
To get an absolute divorce in Maryland both spouses have to live apart from each other for up to one year without interruption before they are allowed to file for an absolute divorce. Or in the case that one spouse doesn’t agree to the divorce, they must live up to 2 years apart in order for the plaintiff to be able to file for a divorce. This separation agreement may shorten the time it takes for a divorce.
Other grounds in Maryland include adultery, including homosexual acts whereby the evidence must be clear and convincing, cruelty which requires physical or extreme emotional harm to the spouse filing for divorce and/or to a child, desertion in which one party leaves the marital residence without the other spouses consent and it has been at least a year or the conviction, imprisonment of one spouse for a year or the insanity of one spouse where he or she has been in a mental institution for at least 3 years and the other spouse has been a resident of Maryland for at least 2 years. Providing on a fault grounds rather than a no-fault ground is much more complicated and can take a lot more time. However, it may be worth the effort as the proof of fault may have an effect on the division of marital property and alimony.
There is no waiting period to file for an absolute divorce in Maryland if the grounds for divorce are cruelty, violence or adultery. The spouse seeking a divorce on the ground of cruelty and/or violence may seek an absolute divorce as soon as both spouses have been separated. If a spouse is seeking an absolute divorce based on the ground of adultery then they may file for an absolute divorce while still living with the guilty spouse. They do not need to go through the 12 month separation period before the divorce is finalised. However, it may take more time as both spouses have to go through the lengthy trial.
The length of absolute divorce in Maryland can also be based on how quickly the couple can come to an agreement on resolving issues such as child custody, alimony, marital property divisions and payment of shared debts. If both spouses can reach an agreement on all of these issues when seeking an absolute divorce then it may shorten the time of an absolute divorce. This is because they do not need the help of a third party such as the court or an attorney.
If you need a Maryland Divorce Lawyer to help you with your divorce case in Maryland, call us at 888-437-7747. Our Maryland divorce attorneys can help you.