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Maryland Divorce Laws

Just like states have legal requirements for marriage, states also have legal requirements for divorce, State law defines the process married couples must go through to legally end their marriage.

Maryland has a residency requirement that has to be met before filing for divorce, but there's no waiting period before a divorce can be finalized. The standard grounds for divorce include adultery, desertion, cruelty, or incurable insanity. Maryland also recognizes no-fault divorce.

Maryland Divorce Laws at a Glance

The requirements to get divorced can vary from state to state. Maryland's divorce laws are highlighted in the chart below.

Code Section

Fam. Law §7-101-103

Residency Requirements

At least one spouse must be a resident of Maryland. If the ground for divorce happened in Maryland, you need only be a resident at the time you file for divorce. If the ground for divorce happened outside of Maryland, one spouse must live in Maryland for at least six months.

Waiting Period

Upon meeting requirements, absolute divorce granted.

'No Fault' Grounds for Divorce

Separation (2 yrs. involuntarily or 12 months voluntarily); "limited divorce," often referred to as legal separation, is permitted for cruelty, vicious conduct; separation; desertion.

Defenses to a Divorce Filing

Recrimination or condonation is a factor but not an absolute bar.

Other Grounds for Divorce

Adultery; desertion for 12 mos. without interruption; insanity (confined for 3 yrs.); conviction of crime (sentenced for at least 3 yrs. and served at least 12 months); cruelty, excessively vicious conduct; voluntary separation grounds for limited divorce.

No-Fault Divorce Laws

Maryland is one of many states that offers what has come to be known as a “no-fault” divorce. In a no-fault divorce, you do not have to allege or prove any specific wrongdoing in order to get a divorce.

Under Maryland law, to get a no-fault divorce you must demonstrate that you and your spouse have been separated involuntarily for two years or voluntarily for 12 months. Maryland law also provides alternatives to the standard divorce known as an annulment and legal separation, which have separate requirements and only apply to certain circumstances.

If you and your soon-to-be-ex have any children together, you should also be aware of Maryland child custody laws, as well as state statutes pertaining to child support guidelines.

Get a Review of Your Maryland Divorce Case

The divorce process can be emotionally and legally tumultuous, even in the best-case scenarios. Since divorce often involves child custody and other intangibles, it makes sense to protect your interests by hiring an attorney. Get started today by having a Maryland divorce attorney evaluate your case.

A Note About Authorship

This article was created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors, and reviewed by Kevin L. Beard of the Law Office of Kevin L. Beard, P.A. Mr. Beard has over 30 years of experience practicing family law, including divorce, child support, and custody/visitation, in the state of Maryland. 

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