What are grounds for divorce in Maryland?
March 16th, 2015
What are grounds for divorce? In Maryland, before you get divorced you must present to the court "grounds" or a reason for the divorce. Some grounds allow you to get divorced immediately, while other grounds require you and your spouse to remain separated for a period of time before you divorce. There are two types of grounds for absolute divorces, fault grounds and no fault grounds.
The ground for no fault divorces is "12 month separation." In order to meet this ground you and your spouse must live separately and cease acting as a married couple for 12 months. Unlike no fault grounds, some fault grounds do not require a waiting period before an absolute divorce. Fault grounds include:
- Adultery: Corroborated, voluntary, sexual intercourse between a married person and a partner other than a lawful spouse is grounds for an absolute divorce. A spouse can prove adultery by showing that the other spouse had the intention and opportunity to commit adultery, without needing to produce actual photos or witnesses.
- Desertion: Desertion is when one spouse leaves the other spouse without his or her consent. Generally, the desertion must last 12 months. The desertion must be deliberate and final without reasonable expectation of reconciliation to qualify as grounds for an absolute divorce.
- Conviction of a felony or misdemeanor: Conviction of a felony or misdemeanor is grounds for divorce if the conviction carries with it a sentence of at least 3 years in jail or your spouse already served at least 1 year in jail.
- Insanity: Insanity is grounds for divorce if
1) your spouse has been committed to a hospital or mental institution for at least 3 years
2) two psychiatrists can testify that there is no hope of recovery and
3) you or your spouse has been a resident of the state for at least 2 years.
- Cruel treatment: Cruel treatment towards you or a minor child is sometimes grounds for an absolute divorce if there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation. Cruelty of treatment can include serious domestic violence or intention to commit severe psychological harm.
- Excessively vicious conduct: Excessively vicious conduct and cruelty go hand in hand and encompass both mental and physical abuse.
If you are considering filing for divorce you may want to consult a Maryland divorce attorney. We handle Maryland's divorce cases on a daily basis and we've been doing it for more than 20 years. Contact the Law Offices of David L. Ruben today for a free consult, call (410) 766 4044.