A divorce that is mutually consented is a divorce where both spouses have decided that the marriage should come to an end. In 2015, the state of Maryland created ‘mutual consent’ as grounds when filing for an uncontested divorce. In a mutually consented divorce, the spouses do not have to go through a period of separation, however, there are other conditions that must be present such as:
- Spouses have a signed Marital Settlement Agreement
- In this agreement, both couples will have to have come to an agreement on any issues that may come up during the divorce like alimony, child custody and division of assets.
- At least one of the spouses must be a current resident or was a resident of the state of Maryland for at least the last 6 months.
- Neither one of the parties request that a judge dismiss the marital settlement agreement.
- Either one of the spouses appear and testify before a judge
Previously, a couple that filed for a mutual consent dissolve bonds of matrimony was required not to have any minor children in common. However, as of the 1st of October of the year 2018, spouses with minor children will qualify for a mutually consented dissolve bonds of matrimony with the condition that they include any issues such as child custody or support in the marital agreement. The court will review the agreement to ensure that the decisions made are in the child’s interest. In addition, the court no longer requires that both spouses appear before a judge. It is only necessary that one of the spouses testify in court in order to achieve a mutually consented dissolve bonds of matrimony.
The state of Maryland also renounced the need for the testament of any witnesses for a mutual consented marriage in 2016.
As previously stated, a couple filing for a mutually consented dissolve bonds of matrimony are not required to be separated for any period of time before filing for the dissolve bonds of matrimony. This makes the dissolve bonds of matrimony process much faster and simpler for both spouses. The length of time it takes for a mutually consented divorce to be finalized depends on how long it takes the spouses to reach an agreement on all the issues regarding the dissolution of marriage. A couple facing difficulties may hire a dissolution of marriage meditator to help overcome any obstacles over the course of the agreement. Once the settlement is signed and filed, the process is relatively quick.
Mutually consented marriages have many advantages such as no separation periods, less legal fees and more power on what the terms of the dissolution of marriage look like (alimony, asset division etc.) however, if not carried not out carefully and wisely, there may be disadvantages to getting divorced this way. Maryland does not have any specific forms for mutually consented divorces. Because of this, many people use standard forms they find online or copy from another’s couple’s agreement. This is not wise as each divorce is unique and also cause issues post-divorce. Some people attempt to pursue their divorce in least costly way possible. To avoid legal fees, a couple may try to agree on the terms of their settlement without any legal representation. A judge will not thoroughly review a settlement and so for people who decide to settle with no lawyers present, there will be no warnings on any financial or emotional obstacles that may occur based on their choices during the settlement.
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. B