Grounds for Divorce in Maryland

In Maryland, an absolute divorce cannot be granted immediately just because the parties do not want to be married any longer. Unlike other states, such as California, irreconcilable differences is not a ground for divorce. In fact, Maryland is essentially a fault-based state. This means that someone must usually be at fault for a divorce to be granted. Six fault-based grounds for divorce exist in Maryland. However, there is one no-fault ground as well. First we’ll discuss the fault-based grounds for divorce:

1. Adultery: If a spouse has committed adultery, the other party can file for a divorce immediately. There is no waiting period to file for a divorce in Maryland based on this ground. However, the party filing for divorce must prove two things: (1) opportunity for the spouse to commit adultery, and (2) inclination or disposition to commit adultery.

2. Desertion: In order to file for a divorce in Maryland based on desertion, the desertion must have continued for 12 months without interruption. Therefore, the spouse must wait at least one year before filing for divorce based on this ground. The party filing for divorce must also show that the desertion was deliberate and final, and that there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation.

3. Conviction of a felony or misdemeanor: A party can file for a divorce based on their spouse’s conviction of a felony or misdemeanor if the spouse has been sentenced to at least three years in prison. The spouse must have also served 12 months of his or her sentence. Therefore, there is a waiting period to file for divorce in Maryland based on this ground as well.

4. Insanity: An insane spouse must have been confined to a mental institution for at least three years before his or her spouse can file for a divorce in Maryland based on insanity. Also, two physicians must testify that there is no hope for the party’s recovery.

5. Cruelty of treatment: In order to file for divorce in Maryland based on cruelty of treatment, there must be a continuous pattern of cruel physical and/or mental abuse. There is no waiting period to file for divorce based on this ground.

6. Excessively viscous conduct: Unlike, cruelty of treatment, excessively viscous conduct only requires one extremely viscous act. There is also no waiting period to file for a divorce in Maryland based on excessively viscous conduct.

No-fault ground for divorce in Maryland:

1. One-year separation: In order to qualify for a divorce in Maryland based on a one-year separation, the parties must live separate and apart for an entire 12 months without any interruption. It does not matter if either party was at fault. It also does not matter if only one party wants the divorce, while the other party wants to remain married.

If you are thinking about filing for a divorce in Maryland, contact The Law Offices of David L. Ruben. We are Maryland divorce and custody lawyers practicing in Anne Arundel County, Howard County, Baltimore County, Montgomery County, Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, Hanover, Laurel, Towson and all around the state. Call (410) 766-4044 or e-mail us at mdlaws@aol.com.