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What divorce laws did Maryland lawmakers recently change?

On Behalf of | Mar 25, 2024 | Divorce, Family Law

Divorce is a deeply personal process, but it is also a legal matter. Couples divorce when they no longer want the state to recognize a marital relationship. Therefore, Maryland state law plays a major role in modern divorce proceedings.

The law determines what financial obligations spouses may have to one another or any children they share. The law determines when divorce is an option and how couples split their property. Divorce statutes in Maryland recently changed in two significant ways. People who understand how divorce statutes have recently changed may have a better time preparing for their divorce proceedings.

The elimination of limited divorce

Maryland offered an alternative to traditional divorce by granting some couples limited divorces. Limited divorce was a legal process officiating a court-ordered separation. Those who experienced a marital separation or desertion, as well as those subject to cruel treatment, could request a limited divorce. However, limited divorce is no longer a legal option available in Maryland. Only absolute divorce is an option. Absolute divorce involves officially ending a marital relationship, rather than formally separating.

Changes to the grounds for divorce

Fault-based grounds for divorce can give one spouse a reason to seek the end of a marital relationship. When someone blames their spouse, especially if they belong to a certain religion, a fault-based divorce may appeal to the person filing. Maryland lawmakers have recently changed the grounds for divorce.

Previously, the grounds for a fault-based divorce in Maryland included physical or mental abuse, spousal insanity, criminal convictions leading to jail time, adultery and desertion. Currently, there are only three grounds for divorce. Spouses can divorce through mutual consent in an uncontested divorce. They can separate for at least six months to justify the decision to file for divorce, or they can assert that there are irreconcilable differences that make divorce necessary.

These changes may alter the type of divorce that someone files, but they should not deter most people from pursuing divorce proceedings. Understanding Maryland’s laws that govern pending divorces may benefit those about to file or respond to a spouse’s filing, as the law plays a major role in determining the outcome of a Maryland divorce.