Posts Tagged ‘Collaborative Divorce’

New Mutual Consent Divorce in Maryland as of October 2015

Mutual Consent Divorce in MarylandOn October 1, 2015, Maryland enacted the “mutual consent” grounds for divorce. The new statute was signed by Governor Hogan on May 12, 2015 and stipulates several criteria for Maryland to grant an absolute divorce decree without the standard one year separation requirement that the parties to live separate and apart from each other. [1]

Criteria for “Mutual Consent” Divorce in Maryland

In order for the divorce to be granted on grounds of “mutual consent”, the following criteria must be met (as outlined in the statute):

  • The parties do not have any minor children in common.
  • The parties execute and submit to the court a written statement agreement signed by both parties that resolves all issues relating to alimony, and the distribution of property.
  • Neither party files a pleading to set aside the settlement agreement prior to the divorce hearing required under the laws of Maryland.
  • Both parties appear before the court at the absolute divorce hearing.

If the divorce falls within these criteria, the couple filing for the “mutual consent” divorce can continue living in the same household during the divorce settlement negotiations without delaying the actual date of divorce. This allows time for the couple to settle financial issues, property division and prepare for separate living arrangements.

“Mutual Consent” divorce should be helpful in assisting an amicable divorce.

What Prevents “Mutual Consent” Divorce in Maryland

“Mutual Consent” divorce is extremely helpful because it allows couples, seeking an amicable divorce, to obtain a divorce even if they are still living together. In our community there are many individuals that cannot afford to move out, and live separately for one year, in order to obtain an absolute divorce. For those couples who do not qualify for mutual consent divorce, you must meet the requirements of one other divorce grounds listed below:

  • One year separation without cohabitation
  • Adultery
  • Desertion
  • Conviction of a misdemeanor or felony charge (must comply with sentence duration limits)
  • Cruelty
  • Excessively vicious conduct
  • Insanity

Which Divorce is Right for Me

When considering a divorce, you should always consult a qualified attorney in your jurisdiction. The Law Offices of Sandra Guzman-Salvado, LLC practices primarily in the area of family law. We have offices in Frederick County, Montgomery County, Anne Arundel County and Prince George’s County. Contact us today at 301-340-1911 or schedule an appointment with a Maryland divorce attorney online to discuss your options.

[1] General Assembly of Maryland, Legislation by Session: Family Law-Grounds for Divorce-Mutual Consent, Chapter 353 (2015 Regular Session),, (May 2015).

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The Benefits of Having a Child Specialist in a Collaborative Divorce

A collaborative divorce occurs when two spouses are able to work out an agreement without going to divorce court. It helps them achieve their goal of becoming divorced, while also helping them adapt, cope, and ready themselves for the next chapter in life. The collaborative divorce team pays careful attention to the psychological and emotional well-being of all parties involved. While this may be the best route to take when considering a divorce, it can still be a very difficult and confusing time in life, especially for any children involved. This process is new to them, and they probably don’t understand what is going on. It also doesn’t help that the majority of parents are unsure of how to talk to their children about the divorce. Fortunately, the collaborative divorce process offers someone to effectively help the children through the process.

The Child Specialist

The Child Specialist is one of two neutral members on the collaborative divorce team (the other being the Financial Specialist). Their job is to meet with the children, get to know them, and understand how they are feeling. The children are given a clear and defined “voice” in the process through the Child Specialist. This voice can empower them, helping them to feel confident, comfortable, and connected in the process. Ordinarily a very scary and confusing time in the life of the children, the divorce process can become tolerable, and often easier to handle, through the use of a Child Specialist.

The Child Specialist has two main roles in the divorce process. The first is to meet with the children and learn what their questions, fears, and concerns are and what they are struggling with as it relates to the divorce. By taking some of the stress away, they are able to earn the trust of the children. This allows the children to be open and honest. The Child Specialist doesn’t ask the children which parent they would rather live with, as this could put the children in the middle of the parents’ issues.

The other main role of the Child Specialist is to keep the parents informed. They bring the needs of the children into focus, informing decisions and choices made by the parents on a custody and child sharing plan that is in the best interests of the children. The Child Specialist will also help the parents know what to expect from their children based on their age and stage of development. They will help answer and questions the parents or children have about divorce and any immediate decisions that need to be made, without recommending or deciding on issues of custody.

The important thing to remember is that a legal attorney is not trained to help explain to parents how their children are handling the divorce, what their concerns are, or any effects that the divorce may have on their lives. The Child Specialist can help with all of this, and make the divorce process easier for both the parents and the children.