Divorce Law Basics in the State of Maryland
Also See: Maryland Marriage Laws
Statute: Maryland Divorce Code (Family Law, Title 7)
- Living separate and apart for at least 2 years prior to filing
- Voluntary (legal) separation for at least one year prior to filing
- Desertion for at least one year prior to filing
- Conviction of a felony, when the respondent has been sentenced to at least three years in a penal institution and has served at least one of those years
- Cruelty or domestic violence against the petitioner or a minor child of the complaining party
Residency: If the grounds for divorce occurred outside the state of Maryland, the residency requirement is 1 year; if filing on the grounds of insanity, residency requirement is 2 years; otherwise parties may file if either spouse is a resident without waiting period.
Legal Separation Recognized? Yes. Alimony, child support and property distribution can be awarded without having a divorce pending.
Counseling Requirements: The court may require the parties to attend a parenting education class when minor children are involved.
Property Distribution: Maryland relies on “equitable distribution” so the court will distribute the marital property “in an equitable manner” if the parties can’t agree on their own. Separate property (property acquired prior to the marriage, as a gift or through inheritance) is not included in property distribution.
Alimony: Alimony may be awarded to either party and is at the discretion of the judge. Fault may be considered.