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Positive Changes In Maryland Divorce Law


Many are cheering the changes to Maryland’s notoriously onerous divorce laws that come into effect in October 2023, noting that the time and drudgery associated with getting a divorce in the state will lessen to a significant extent.

Welcome to No-Fault Divorce 

One of the biggest and most welcome changes in the law involves the elimination of the requirement for fault finding in a divorce.  Most other states have allowed for no-fault divorces for years, and Maryland is finally on board, eliminating previously required grounds for divorce including accusing a spouse of:

  • Being convicted of a criminal offense;
  • Desertion;
  • Insanity;
  • Cruelty;
  • Desertion;
  • Adultery.

Wait-Time Eliminated 

Another huge win for those seeking a divorce in the state is the removal of the 12-month separation period that was formerly mandated before a divorce could be finalized. Now the law requires just a six-month separation, although that separation does not include the requirement of couples having to live in separate homes. Couples must simply demonstrate that they are living separate lives and are pursuing individual interests on the road to divorce. Although that requirement is somewhat vague, couples who claim they have irreconcilable differences and who meet the court’s definition of pursuing separate lives for a period of six months can get their divorce.

Limited Divorce Eliminated 

The concept of limited divorce—where the court supervises issues like alimony, child custody/support, and property issues as couples await the finalization of an absolute divorce, is no longer on the books in Maryland.

Benefits of Looser Restrictions on Divorce 

When couples wish to claim one of the previously required grounds for divorce, they certainly can do so.  That may be the case when there are issues that could impact alimony or child custody issues, for example. And because mutual consent is required for a Maryland divorce, grounds may be necessary in a contested divorce.  For all other cases, the upside to the changes in Maryland law are clear:

  • Couples who are simply unhappy in their marriage can now legally divorce, without blame having to be assigned to one partner;
  • A divorce can be granted more quickly;
  • The emotional rigors associated with fault in a divorce are minimized;
  • The legal fees associated with investigating one spouse in order to establish grounds are eliminated;
  • The expense of having to live separately for a year before a divorce is granted is no longer an issue.

The Divorce Attorneys You Can Trust 

At the Law Office of Hasson D. Barnes, our Baltimore family attorneys are experienced and up-to-date with Maryland laws.  We offer the legal representation you need based on earnestly listening to your divorce goals.  To discuss, schedule a confidential consultation in our office today.

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