Maryland Divorce Laws

patrickcrawford | January 22, 2024

Divorce laws in Maryland are always being changed and updated—sometimes in small ways, sometimes in massive ways. So, staying abreast of the latest developments is a smart idea if you are considering filing for divorce. For example, as of October 2023, Maryland stopped offering “limited divorces.” This was Maryland’s version of legal separation. 


Nothing has been offered legally as an alternative. At the moment, in Maryland, it’s 100% married or 100% divorcing, no “half-measure.” To know your options for a divorce, speak with an Annapolis divorce attorney as soon as possible. 


Grounds for Divorce in Maryland

Another change that took place in Maryland in October was that “at-fault” divorces no longer exist. In the past, someone could file a contested, as in adversarial, divorce accusing their spouse of causing the divorce due to:

  • Cruel treatment
  • Adultery
  • Being sent to jail
  • Being separated for longer than one year
  • Abandonment
  • Insanity


Adversarial divorces require a trial in which, for example, a wife tries to prove her husband cheated on her, and he tries to prove that he didn’t. It’s similar to a lawsuit or a criminal trial with witnesses, evidence, and so forth. Maryland’s new divorce law instead offers a divorcing couple the grounds of “irreconcilable differences,” being separated for just six months, or mutual agreement. This cuts down on court time and expense, freeing up the court system substantially.


Faster, Easier Divorces With the New Legislation

As you might have noticed above, divorces based on separation just got easier since the mandatory period got cut in half from one year to six months. Since irreconcilable differences were not an option before the new laws, couples who were amicably divorcing were forced to wait out a one-year separation before filing. To put that in perspective, in some states, it’s possible to get divorced in less than 60 days. 


In addition to this period being reduced, the separation can happen while the couple is still living under the same roof. Previously, a couple was not considered separated until they maintained separate residences. The old law also had additional stipulations that the couple had to start the count over again on their separation time if they had sexual contact at any point. The six-month time period still must be continuous, however. All of these changes are good news for people stuck in abusive or violent marriages as well.


Navigating divorce laws can be complicated, but you can do so easily with help from a divorce attorney


Additional Resources on Maryland Divorce Law

Here is a helpful pamphlet from the State of Maryland about rights and responsibilities regarding Maryland divorce. If you would like to read the actual statutes that address family matters, you can do that in the Annotated Code of Maryland, Section 7.


Your Annapolis Divorce Lawyer Is Standing By Now

Let the Law Office of Patrick Crawford help with your now faster and easier Maryland divorce today. You never know when the laws may change again. Our Annapolis divorce attorney service focuses entirely on family law, whether it’s a simple custody modification or a complicated high net-worth divorce. You can trust Patrick Crawford’s knowledge, experience, and dedication. Contact our office now to set up a free legal consultation

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