Before you file divorce papers in Glen Burnie or Severn, it’s necessary to consider whether you meet the requirements to file for divorce and to consider which type of divorce you wish to pursue. Maryland divorce law allows couples to file for fault-based or no-fault divorce. Fault-based divorce is only permitted in certain circumstances, such as when one spouse is accused of desertion, adultery, or other acts of egregious conduct. Most couples will file for no-fault divorce, which does not place blame for the breakdown of the marriage on either spouse.
Before filing for either type of divorce, it’s necessary to meet the residency requirement. At least one of the spouses must still be a resident of the state before filing the court papers. At least one of the spouses must demonstrate residency in Maryland for at least six months prior to filing.
Until recently, the only basis for a no-fault divorce in Maryland was a legal separation. Couples are required to live in separate residences for at least 12 continuous months before filing the paperwork. If they temporarily cohabit the same residence, even for a day, the 12-month period begins all over again. Likewise, if the couple shares sexual intimacy, the 12-month period must start over again. Legal separation is also referred to as limited divorce. A limited divorce proceeds through the court system. It allows a separated couple to settle certain matters while waiting for grounds for an absolute divorce. For example, they could determine the division of property instead of having to wait for the 12-month period to be complete. When a couple has legally separated, they are not legally bound to proceed to divorce. They may decide to reconcile.
Recently, a new Maryland divorce law was passed that allowed certain qualifying couples to bypass the legal separation requirement. The law is based on the mutual consent of the spouses. Spouses can only qualify for this no-fault divorce is they share no children in common and come to an agreement on all issues, such as property division and alimony.