Are Maryland's divorce procedures becoming streamlined?

Readers may assume that an uncontested divorce in Maryland would be a quick and routine affair, but state law imposes what some commentators have characterized as an outdated requirement: a corroborating witness. Specifically, state divorce law requires a showing that a couple hasn’t cohabitated under the same roof for a year, which can be confirmed by bringing a witness to court.

Although the intent of this provision may have been to protect couples from overly hasty divorce filings, such as those made in the heat of the moment, state lawmakers have had a change of heart. The General Assembly has given final approval to a bill that will drop the corroborating witness requirement. The bill will become law if Gov. Larry Hogan approves it.

Although an entire year may seem like an inconvenience, it is important for divorcing couples to remember that there is still a procedural timeline after a divorce filing. The process takes time, and an experienced family law attorney can help guide clients through any issues that might arise on the way.

Indeed, even the Maryland Judiciary’s website cautions that a number of steps must be completed before a court will grant a divorce. Fortunately, our family law and divorce law firm is well versed in the forms, deadlines and fees that an individual will encounter after filing for divorce. An attorney can also represent an individual’s best interests regarding matters of support and property division. In order to make informed decisions, an attorney can also conduct discovery on behalf of his or her client.

Source: Baltimore Sun, "No divorce court witness needed under bill approved by Maryland General Assembly," Michael Dresser, April 8, 2016