Did you know, in 1786 revolutionary leaders from several American states gathered in Annapolis, Maryland to discuss reforming the Articles of Confederation. This “Annapolis Convention” was mostly considered a failure, but it directly led to the famous Philadelphia Convention of 1787 where the U.S. Constitution we all know today was created. If your first marriage is failing like the Annapolis convention, perhaps you should get to know divorce laws in Maryland.
Maryland divorce laws – Adultery
Maryland allows both fault and no-fault grounds for divorce. Adultery, desertion, conviction for a serious crime, insanity, cruelty, and vicious conduct are the allowed fault grounds. Under fault proceedings, one spouse has to prove the other spouse committed one of these wrongful acts in order to receive a fault divorce. In modern times, very few people pursue a fault divorce.
Most couples in Maryland will use the no-fault provisions in Maryland divorce laws, which allows for a divorce after the couple has lived separately and apart for 12 months. That means exactly what it sounds like.
Generally, each spouse needs to get their own home and live away from the other spouse. Some people cannot afford that and do try to get divorced while still living in a roommate situation with their estranged spouse.
Technically a court could find that the couple had not lived separately and refuse to grant the divorce, though in reality if both spouses say they want out of the marriage the court is unlikely to dive too deep into their relationship.
Maryland divorce laws – Alimony
A court granting a divorce in Maryland can award alimony to either spouse. This is just one spouse making ongoing payments to the other spouse in order to keep up the standard of living of both spouses. These payments are sometimes temporary, perhaps to give one spouse enough time to get back on his or her feet. Indefinite alimony generally terminates when the person receiving it dies or remarries.
Maryland divorce laws – Property division
When a couple gets divorced, a court will generally split up all of their assets. The division is often equal, though it can be difficult to split up some things like retirement accounts or home equity. These issues are often resolved by one spouse getting more of one thing (e.g. cash) to compensate for the other spouse having an asset that cannot be split (e.g, retirement investments).
New Maryland divorce laws
Until recently, Maryland was one of the more cumbersome states to get divorced in. State of Maryland divorce laws required that a couple must have been living separately for 12 months before getting a no-fault divorce. A couple with a lot of assets to split up and kids to provide for may well need all that time to settle their divorce. That can be a very long time for a couple that just wants to split up their checking account and move on, though.
In 2015, Maryland finally got with the times and created an expedited process for simple divorces. State of Maryland divorce laws were amended to add a speedy “mutual consent” divorce option. If a couple has no children and can agree on how to split up their property, then the court can grant a divorce almost immediately.