Maryland legislators looking to ‘streamline’ no-fault divorce

On Behalf of | Feb 10, 2023 | Divorce

Like every other state, Maryland offers no-fault divorce to its residents. If you want a divorce, it is not necessary to prove that your spouse did something from a list of reasons to grant a divorce (adultery, cruelty, abandonment, etc.) like most Americans had to do decades ago.

However, not every state’s version of no-fault divorce is exactly the same. Some states, including Maryland, still offer at-fault divorce as an alternative. And Maryland imposes a waiting period on no-fault divorce. Before you can file for no-fault divorce in this state, you must be voluntarily separated from your spouse for at least 12 months straight. A lot of couples don’t want to wait a full year before completing their divorce. But to avoid the waiting period, you would have to file for an at-fault divorce, which requires evidence from your private life to be submitted in court.

Getting rid of at-fault divorce for good

A pair of bills in the state legislature would make no-fault divorce easier in Maryland. The bills are in the House and Senate but have the same language. They would eliminate grounds for at-fault divorce from the books and shorten the waiting period to six months. Irreconcilable differences would be the only valid grounds for divorce, though evidence of things like abuse and adultery could be relevant in child custody and alimony matters. The bills would also get rid of “limited divorce,” an incomplete form of divorce that Maryland judges may currently grant.

Supporters in the legislature say the new law would “streamlining Maryland’s current divorce law,” as an attorney recently testified before the House Judiciary Committee. The attorney predicted that making the divorce process faster would also reduce expense and conflict.

Assistance for your divorce

Divorce can be emotionally difficult and complex as it is. Anything that removes unnecessary obstacles would be welcome. But whether you expect your divorce to be relatively simple or complicated, legal representation from an experienced family law attorney can make a big difference in your favor.