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Absolute Divorce

If you are contemplating a divorce, in Maryland there are two types of divorce which are a Limited Divorce and Absolute Divorce. A limited divorce means a divorce that does not terminate the marriage and does not permit a person to remarry. Limited divorce is a form of legal separation in Maryland, where it does provide support through the process. An absolute divorce means that the marriage is terminated forever along with the property rights and permits one to remarry.

In order to request an absolute divorce, there have to be grounds for the judge to award it. The Firm can help you with your absolute divorce. In Maryland, there are eight (8) grounds you can bring suite before a court which are:

  • Adultery;
  • Insanity;
  • Conviction of a felony or misdemeanor with incarceration:
  • Mutual Consent;
  • One (1) year separation;
  • Desertion
  • Excessively Vicious Conduct; and
  • Cruelty.

If you can prove adultery, the Court will award a judgment of absolute divorce regardless of the parties have been separate. To meet the elements of adultery, you must prove: (1) the spouse had the opportunity to perform adultery and (2) the inclination or disposition to perform adultery.

What do you need to prove insanity as a ground for an absolute divorce, the party must show that their spouse has been confined to a hospital or mental institution for at least three (3) years prior to filing the complaint for divorce and the magistrate or judge must hear testimony from at least two (2) physicians who are competent in psychiatry that the insanity is incurable, and there is no hope of recovery.

If a person wants to divorce a spouse who has been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor, that person must prove that their husband or wife was convicted of a misdemeanor or felony in any state, and was sentenced to at least three (3) years in prison, and has served at least twelve (12) months of that sentence prior to filing for divorce.

In order to be awarded a divorce based on mutual consent, that the parties have resolved all marital issues in writing. These marital issues include custody, child support, alimony, personal property, real property, and use and possession of the marital home along with its personal properties and whatever other issues that is associated with the marriage. The firm can help with an agreement with this. If all issues are not addressed, then the court will not grant the absolute divorce.

One-year separation is the most common ground filed with the court for an absolute divorce in Maryland. There is another common ground filed with the court that is a mutual consent. Both of these grounds are no fault. As for one-separation, you must prove to the judge or magistrate that the parties have not been living under the same roof meaning separate and apart with no cohabitation for at least a year. The separate and apart requirement must be continuous.

The court’s interpretation of separate and apart is strictly construed. For instance, if the parties are living under different rooms, this is not separate and apart between the parties. During the one-year separation, if the parties live under the same room for one day, then the clock is reset in order to meet the one-year separation period.

To prove desertion, it has to be final and deliberate. In addition, there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation.

As for the other two (2) grounds for an absolute divorce, excessively vicious conduct and cruelty of treatment the parties do not have to separate for one (1) year. These two grounds overlap one another. A person can file an absolute divorce from the other spouse if that person suffered mental or physical harm from the spouse and no reasonable expectation of reconciliation. In order to prove these two (2) grounds, your spouse’s vicious conduct and/or cruel treatment endangers your life and health or the life and health of a minor child.

To file for a divorce in Maryland, you must meet the residency requirement. That is, one of the spouses, must have lived in Maryland for at least six (6) months.

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