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DIY Divorce Guide

Maryland Divorce Process

Complete divorce guide with state requirements and laws.
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Maryland Online Divorce Basics This is a divorce reference guide to understanding divorce in Maryland. Each state has its own requirements, laws, and documentation, so we decided to gather it all in one location to make it easy and quick for you to find the information you need before, during and after your divorce.
Divorce in Maryland Made Easy
    • Time Frame: An uncontested divorce can be completed in as little as thirty days, and a fully litigated case can take more than a year.
    • Where to File: Circuit Court. "In the Circuit Court for ____________ Maryland."
    • State Statutes: Maryland Code and Rules; Family Law.
    • Name of Action: Bill for Divorce.
    • Name of Parties: Plaintiff (the filing spouse) and defendant (the other party).
    • No-Fault or Fault and No-Fault Only: No-fault only.
    • Primary Documents Filed: Bill for Divorce and Decree of Divorce.
    • Physical Separation Required: No.
    • Separation Time to File: Yes, for a no-fault divorce based on a six-month separation.
    • Legal Separation Permitted: No.
    • No-Fault Grounds: Mutual Consent, irreconcilable differences, or six-month separation.
    • Residency Requirement: Six-month requirement if the grounds for the divorce occurred outside of Maryland; if the grounds for divorce occurred in Maryland, either spouse must be currently living in Maryland at the time of the filing.
    • Mediation Required: Maryland courts may require mediation in disputes involving child custody and visitation unless there is a history of sexual or physical abuse.
    • Counseling Required: There is no provision for mandatory divorce counseling in Maryland.
    • Parenting Classes Required: The court may order an educational seminar if minor children are involved. Some circuit courts require all parties in contested family cases involving children to attend these classes (especially divorce). The classes deal with the emotional impact of divorce on children and parents; the effects in the parent-child relationship; the transitions between households; communicating with children and the former spouse; problem-solving, and decision-making. The classes are called the Child Support and Custody Educational Seminar and they last about 6 hours. Sometimes it is scheduled in 2, 3 hour sessions. The parents do not have to attend the same seminar together, but it can be the best option if the parents are getting along with one another. (Md. Code, Fam. Law § 7-103.2 (2023).)
    • Filing Fee: $165 under the circuit court fee schedule that was effective October 1, 2023. (Request a Maryland Filing Fee Waiver.)
    • Where to File for Child Support: The Maryland Child Support Enforcement Administration (CSEA) works with both parents to provide financial, medical, and emotional support.
    • Child Support Guidelines Model: Maryland uses the Income Shares Model.
Maryland Child Support Guidelines and Worksheets:
  • Property Division: Equitable division.
  • Appreciation of Separate Property: The appreciation of separate property is separate.
  • Attendance at Hearing: Yes. The filing spouse appears at a hearing with the Family Law Master.
  • Fault Considered in Property Division: Yes. Judges still have to consider the reasons for the break-up of the marriage when considering alimony and property division.
  • Waiting period after Divorce for Remarriage: None.
  • Ways to Serve Spouse: Generally, Maryland permits service of process by certified mail, sheriff, and private process.


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