Legal Grounds For Divorce

May 07, 2018 - By: Stuart H. Grozbean

One of the most asked questions from people looking to separate or divorce is:
Do I have grounds for divorce?

Here are the grounds for divorce in Maryland:

Adultery; Desertion; Voluntary Separation; Conviction of a Felony; Two Year Separation; Insanity; Cruelty of Treatment; and Excessively Vicious Conduct; Bigamy; Voluntary separation (requires that both parties live separate and apart); criminal incarceration; mental insanity.

Voluntary Separation in (MD) Maryland is where both of you agree to live separate and apart without cohabitation. This means that you are mutually agreeing to live in separate residences. Maryland does not allow the two of you to stay in the same home and assert voluntary separation as a grounds for divorce.

The courts distinguish between “constructive desertion” and “desertion” in (MD) Maryland, which (under desertion) is when one of the parties leaves without the intention of returning. If the other person forces you to leave, that is “constructive desertion.” You won’t be penalized by the court if you leave for your own protection or that of the child(ren).

Cruelty and vicious conduct in (MD) Maryland is where you have been abused by your spouse. The mere fact that the two of you are not speaking is not generally considered abuse.

Adultery in Maryland (MD) is where your spouse is having sexual relations with another person. However, once you learn of the adultery and still have sexual relations with your husband it is deemed condoned or in plain English, forgiven. You do not have to catch the spouse in the actual act. The Court applies a more lenient test. Our attorneys can explain in more detail.

If your spouse has been incarcerated for more than 12 months on a three-year sentence, then you can file for a divorce.

Bigamy in (MD) Maryland is where one of the spouses has been married before, but never obtained a valid divorce.

Insanity in (MD) Maryland is where the person has been committed for more than 3 years.

Finally, Maryland (MD) recognizes a two-year no-fault divorce where no ground are necessary if you have lived separate and apart for the past 24 months.

Maryland also has a limited divorce statute. However, it is often duplicitous and can cause more money in legal fees. Whether it is an appropriate cause of action for you needs to be discussed with the attorney.