The basics of obtaining a divorce in Maryland

When most couples marry, they truly believe it will be until death do them part. While love may bring a couple together, love alone may not be enough to sustain a marriage. As the months and years go by; the opinions, values and life goals of individual spouses may change. A couple may simply grow apart. In other cases, a spouse may have an affair or become verbally or physically abusive. In cases where one of these scenarios occurs, Maryland couples who feel trapped in an unhappy marriage would be wise to seek the advice of a divorce attorney.

In some states, including Maryland, the divorce process is more complex. Information from the Maryland State Bar Association, Inc. provides details on how Maryland couples can obtain a divorce. For example, in order to obtain an absolute divorce which allows a couple to formally and legally divide property and affords each spouse the right to remarry, certain requirements must be met.

While in some states, a spouse can simply file for divorce at any time; in order to obtain an absolute divorce in Maryland one or both spouses must have committed adultery or spouses must have lived apart for at least one consecutive year with "no reasonable expectation of reconciliation."

In cases where both spouses want a divorce, each would be wise to retain their own divorce attorney who will advise that an individual immediately legally separate from a spouse and begin living apart. At that time, a separated couple may choose to negotiate a separation agreement.

A separation agreement is a binding and legally enforceable contract that is used by separating couples to decide and settle matters related to property division, child support, alimony and some child custody matters. When negotiating a separation agreement, each spouse is advised to seek the guidance and counsel of a legal professional.

The divorce process in Maryland is more complicated than in many other states. For this reason, prior to taking any action, married individuals or couples who plan to file for divorce would be wise to contact a family law attorney.

Source: Maryland State Bar Association, Inc., "Divorce and Separation," reviewed in 2014