What are Grounds for Immediate Divorce in Maryland?

April 19, 2024 - By: Stuart H Grozbean - Jaime A Wright

When a marriage reaches a breaking point, couples may seek legal dissolution through divorce. Each state in the United States has its own set of laws dictating the grounds on which a divorce can be granted. If you’re in Maryland and contemplating divorce, it’s essential to understand the grounds for immediate divorce recognized by the state.

1. Mutual Consent

In Maryland, couples can seek a “no-fault” divorce based on mutual consent. This means that both parties agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken and have reached a settlement agreement regarding property, finances, and child custody if applicable. This ground allows for a quicker and less contentious divorce process.

2. Separation

Another common ground for divorce in Maryland is living separately for a certain period. If the spouses have lived apart without cohabitation for at least 12 consecutive months, they may file for divorce based on this ground. However, it’s important to note that the separation must be voluntary and not the result of a mutual agreement or understanding.

3. Adultery

Adultery is considered a fault-based ground for divorce in Maryland. If one spouse can prove that the other engaged in extramarital affairs, it can be grounds for immediate divorce. However, it’s crucial to gather sufficient evidence to substantiate the claim, as adultery can be challenging to prove in court.

4. Desertion

Desertion, also known as abandonment, occurs when one spouse leaves the marital home without justification and without the intention of returning. In Maryland, desertion can be a ground for immediate divorce if it persists for 12 consecutive months without interruption.

5. Cruelty or Domestic Violence

If one spouse has subjected the other to physical or mental cruelty, including domestic violence, it can be grounds for immediate divorce in Maryland. Evidence such as medical records, police reports, or eyewitness testimony may be required to support the claim of cruelty or abuse.

6. Insanity

Maryland also recognizes insanity as a ground for divorce. If one spouse has been institutionalized in a mental hospital for at least 3 years due to insanity and there is no hope of recovery, the other spouse may file for divorce on these grounds.


Navigating the complexities of divorce can be emotionally and legally challenging. Understanding the grounds for immediate divorce in Maryland is crucial for anyone considering ending their marriage. Whether pursuing a no-fault divorce based on mutual consent or seeking a fault-based divorce due to adultery, desertion, cruelty, or insanity, consulting with a knowledgeable family law attorney can provide guidance and support throughout the process.

Remember, divorce laws can vary, and it’s essential to seek legal advice tailored to your specific situation if you’re considering ending your marriage in Maryland.