Divorce in Maryland

If you live in the state of Maryland and have decided to get a divorce, you will need to file the case in the county in which you live or work.  For example, if you live in Bethesda and plan on getting a divorce, you would have to file the case in Montgomery County.  If you live in Upper Marlboro, you would have to petition the court for a divorce in Price George’s County (PG).

Grounds for Divorce in Maryland

Whether you live in Frederick County, Howard County, or any other county in the state of Maryland, you can file for a divorce based upon fault grounds or no-fault grounds.   You should speak with your Rockville divorce attorney to see what the most appropriate grounds to file a divorce would be in your particular case.

A No-fault Divorce

You can file for an absolute divorce under a no-fault theory if you have been separated for at least one year prior to filing and there is no reasonable hope you will be able to reconcile with your spouse and fix the marriage.  Under the Maryland Code Section 7-103, during the year of separation, the parties cannot live under the same roof for even one night and cannot engage in sexual intercourse.  If the parties do either of these things during the year, the clock resets, and they must wait an additional year.

Fault Grounds for Divorce in Maryland

If you are filing a divorce in Bethesda, for example, you can also file a divorce based upon fault grounds.  In the State of Maryland, the following fault grounds are applicable when filing for divorce absolute.

  • Adultery: If your spouse has sexual intercourse with a person other than you, and you can prove your spouse has committed adultery, then you can obtain a divorce based upon adultery.  It should be noted, the Maryland Code states that adultery requires your spouse to have sexual intercourse with a person of the opposite sex; however, the Attorney General for the state of Maryland issued a legal opinion that stated a same-sex extramarital affair would constitute adultery as well.
  • Actual Desertion: If your spouse left you more than a year ago with the intention of ending the marriage, and you have had not had sexual intercourse with your spouse or spent a night under the same roof, you can file based on this ground.  There is also what is known as Constructive Desertion, where your spouse essentially forced you to leave the home, and you have not lived together for at least 12 months.  There is also the requirement that you live apart and not engage in sexual intercourse during this year.
  • Criminal Conviction:  If your spouse has been convicted of any criminal charge (felony or misdemeanor) and has been sentenced to at least three years in prison and has already served at least one year of that sentence, you can file for divorce on this ground.
  • Cruelty: If your spouse has endangered you or your child physically or mentally on more than one occasion, and there is no reasonable chance you can get back together, you can file for a divorce in Frederick County or any other county in Maryland based upon this ground.

The family law attorneys at DiPietro & Wise, LLC have years of experience handling domestic relations cases in jurisdictions across Northern Virginia, Washington, DC and Maryland.  Contact us to schedule a consultation.

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