If you are considering a divorce in Maryland, you should be aware of pending significant changes to Maryland’s divorce laws. The changes take effect on Oct. 1, 2023. The new legislation appeals the portion of the law allowing a limited divorce. It also changes the grounds for absolute divorce in Maryland. If you have questions about the law changes after reading this article, our Rockville divorce lawyer at The Law Offices of Sandra Guzman-Salvado can help.
Before the passage of the new Maryland divorce law, the state recognized limited divorce and absolute divorce. A limited divorce allowed you to seek short-term relief if you were undecided about terminating the marriage. It also gave you access to the family court to resolve child support, custody, and alimony concerns. But a limited divorce did not address the distribution or termination of properties or assets.
Unlike an absolute divorce, a limited divorce did not end the marriage, and remarriage was not allowed. The spouses could end the limited divorce at any time or continue it indefinitely. Many couples would use a limited divorce to wait out the 12-month separation requirement if divorce grounds were not established. Then, they would amend the limited divorce to absolute divorce and terminate the marriage.
However, the law taking effect on Oct. 1, 2023, eliminates the limited divorce section of the law and is no longer available. Absolute divorce is the only option in Maryland as of Oct. 1, 2023.
Absolute divorce is available under the new law, but there have been changes to the grounds. Before the new law, couples could get an absolute divorce under these grounds:
- Felony conviction or misdemeanor with jail time
- 12-month separation
- Cruelty or vicious conduct toward a spouse or child
These grounds have been repealed. The following have taken their place:
- Six-month separation if the couple has lived separate and apart uninterrupted for six months before the divorce application was filed. This is the case even if the couple lives under the same roof for six months or the separation is due to a court order.
- Irreconcilable differences based on the reasons the complainant states for the marriage to be permanently terminated. The law states that a couple that has pursued separate lives must be deemed to have resided separately and apart for the purposes of the six-month separation requirement. This is even if the couple lives under the same roof or the separation is based on a court order.
- In permanent legal incapacity of either party who permanently lacks the capacity to make decisions.
Current Maryland law states that the court can grant an absolute divorce based on mutual consent. The new law does not change provisions pertaining to an absolute divorce based on this ground.
Contact Our Rockville Divorce Lawyer Today
The new legislation will have a significant impact if you seek a divorce in Maryland. Obtaining a divorce in Maryland could become easier and faster. Also, being able to remain in the shared home while waiting for the six-month separation time to lapse is a significant benefit. If you have questions about divorce or the new law’s impact, our Rockville divorce lawyer at The Law Offices of Sandra Guzman-Salvado can help, so call (301) 340-1911.