Divorce is a difficult process and requires help and guidance. It’s a whirlwind of emotions, legal jargon, and paperwork. And when you’re dealing with the specific laws of Maryland, it can feel like you’re navigating rough seas in a storm. We’re here to help you understand the grounds for divorce in Maryland, and guide you through this challenging journey.

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No-Fault Divorce: When It’s Nobody’s Fault

In Maryland, a no-fault divorce is granted when both parties agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Separation: The couple must have lived apart, without cohabitation, for at least 12 consecutive months.
  2. Mutual Consent: If the couple has a written settlement agreement, they can file for a no-fault divorce without the separation period, whether or not they have minor children.

Fault-Based Divorce: When The Blame Game Comes Into Play

Maryland also recognizes fault-based grounds for divorce. These include:

  1. Adultery: Adultery is one of the most emotionally charged grounds for divorce. It involves a spouse engaging in a sexual relationship outside the marriage. Proving adultery can be a complex process, as it requires clear and convincing evidence. This could include witness testimonies, photographs, or other forms of evidence. It’s important to note that the act of adultery can have significant implications on the division of marital assets and alimony in divorce proceedings. However, the impact varies depending on the specific circumstances and the laws of the jurisdiction.
  2. Desertion: Desertion, also known as abandonment, occurs when one spouse leaves the marital home without the consent or agreement of the other spouse, with the intent to end the marriage. The deserted spouse must not have provoked the desertion, and a 12-month period of continuous desertion is required for it to be a ground for divorce. Desertion can be a challenging ground to prove, as it involves demonstrating and proving the deserter’s intent to end the marriage. It’s also worth noting that constructive desertion, where one spouse’s behavior forces the other to leave, can also be a ground for divorce. A 12-month period is also required for constructive desertion.
  3. Conviction of a Crime: If a spouse is convicted of a crime, it can serve as a ground for divorce. The specifics can vary, but generally, the crime must be of a certain severity, resulting in imprisonment of at least three years. Additionally, a spouse must also serve at least twelve months of a sentence prior to the other spouse filing for divorce. The conviction of a crime can add a layer of complexity to the divorce process, particularly when it comes to issues like child custody. It’s crucial to consult with a knowledgeable attorney to understand the potential implications of this ground for divorce.
  4. Insanity: Insanity is a less common but still valid ground for divorce. It involves a situation where a spouse has been diagnosed with a mental illness and has been confined to a mental institution for at least three years prior to filing for divorce, along with other requirements. This ground for divorce can be particularly complex and emotionally challenging, as it involves sensitive health information and stringent legal requirements.
  5. Cruelty or Excessively Vicious Conduct: This ground for divorce involves cases where one spouse has been physically abusive or cruel to the other, or to the minor child(ren), to the extent that cohabitation is unsafe or unbearable, resulting in no reasonable expectation of reconciliation. This could include physical violence, emotional abuse, or other forms of harmful behavior. Proving cruelty or excessively vicious conduct requires substantial evidence, including but not limited to medical records, photographs of injuries, and witness testimonies. It’s important to remember that anyone experiencing this type of behavior should seek immediate help from local authorities or a domestic violence hotline.

Each of these grounds comes with its own set of legal requirements and evidentiary standards.

Strategies for Navigating Your Divorce

Divorce in Maryland involves several steps, from filing the complaint to the final divorce decree. Understanding this process can help you navigate your divorce journey effectively.

Having an experienced lawyer by your side can make a world of difference in your divorce proceedings. They can guide you through the legal maze, advocate for your rights, and help you achieve a fair outcome.

Divorce is not easy, but with the right information and legal guidance, you can navigate this challenging process with confidence.


Can I file for a no-fault divorce in Maryland if my spouse doesn't agree?

If your spouse doesn’t agree, you can still file for a no-fault divorce on the grounds of a 12-month separation if no other grounds are available.

What evidence is needed to prove adultery in a Maryland divorce?

Proving adultery in a Maryland divorce requires clear and convincing evidence. This can include witness testimony, photographs, or other forms of evidence.

What evidence is needed to prove adultery in a Maryland divorce?

Proving adultery in a Maryland divorce requires clear and convincing evidence. This can include witness testimony, photographs, or other forms of evidence.