Unveiling the Path: Understanding the Grounds for Divorce in Maryland

January 20, 2024 - By: Stuart H Grozbean - Jaime A Wright

Embarking on the journey of divorce is never easy, and understanding the legal foundations for such a decision is crucial. In the state of Maryland, the grounds for divorce provide the basis upon which a marriage can be legally dissolved. Whether you’re considering filing for divorce or just curious about the legal landscape, this blog will delve into the grounds for divorce in Maryland, shedding light on the criteria that guide this significant life-altering process.

  1. No-Fault Divorce:

Maryland, like many other states, recognizes the concept of a “no-fault” divorce. This means that neither party is required to prove that the other has committed any wrongdoing for the divorce to be granted. The primary no-fault ground for divorce in Maryland is a 12-month separation, during which the spouses live separate and apart without cohabitation. This separation period is designed to demonstrate the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

  1. Fault-Based Grounds:

In addition to no-fault grounds, Maryland allows couples to seek a divorce based on fault. These fault-based grounds include:

  • Adultery: If a spouse can prove that the other committed adultery, it can serve as grounds for divorce. Adultery involves engaging in a sexual relationship with someone other than one’s spouse.
  • Desertion: Desertion occurs when one spouse leaves the marital home without a justifiable reason and the consent of the other spouse, with the intent to end the marriage.
  • Cruelty or excessively vicious conduct: Physical or mental cruelty that makes it unsafe or unreasonable for the parties to continue living together can be grounds for divorce.
  • Insanity: If one spouse has been confined to a mental institution for at least three years and the insanity is likely to be permanent, it can be grounds for divorce.
  1. Limited Divorce:

Maryland also offers the option of a “limited divorce,” which is akin to a legal separation. In a limited divorce, the couple remains legally married but lives separately. This option is often pursued when a couple does not meet the criteria for an absolute divorce but wishes to formalize their separation through a legal agreement.

Understanding the grounds for divorce in Maryland is a pivotal step in navigating the legal intricacies of ending a marriage. Whether pursuing a no-fault divorce based on separation or opting for a fault-based approach, each case is unique. It’s essential to consult with a qualified family law attorney to guide you through the process and ensure that you are fully informed about the legal implications of the grounds for divorce in Maryland. As you embark on this challenging journey, clarity on the grounds for divorce can empower you to make well-informed decisions that align with your specific situation and pave the way for a smoother transition.