MARYLAND DIVORCE BASICS AND OVERVIEW
|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.|
- 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." (See Maryland Court Addresses)
- Statute Statutes: Annotated Code of Maryland; 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: Both no-fault and fault.
- Primary Documents Filed: Bill for Divorce and Decree of Divorce. (See MD Forms List With Explanations)
- Physical Separation Required: One to two years depending on the ground.
- Separation Time to File: See grounds. (Quick Tips for Filing Maryland Divorce Papers)
- Legal Separation Permitted: Provided the spouses make a good faith effort at reconciliation, the court grants a limited divorce.
- No-Fault Grounds: Mutual Consent (no minor children with signed Agreement) or when the spouses have lived one year without cohabitation and "there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation". (See Maryland Laws for Divorce)
- Residency Requirement: One year requirement if the grounds for the divorce occurred outside of Maryland; if either spouse resides in Maryland, he or she may file in the county in which either spouse resides. (See Maryland Residency Requirements for Divorce)
- Mediation Required: Maryland law holds that it is in the best interest of children that custody disputes be mediated 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 hours 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. The family court statute in Maryland for the parenting class is 7-103.2.
- Filing Fee: $165. (See MD Filing Fee Waiver Form)
- Where to File for Child Support: The Maryland Child Support Enforcement Administration (CSEA) works with both parents to provide the financial, medical and emotional support.
- Child Support Guidelines Model: Maryland uses the Income Shares Model.
- 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. Fault may reduce the share of the marital estate.
- Waiting period after Divorce for Remarriage: None.
- Ways to Serve Spouse: Generally, Maryland permits service of process in the state or, when authorized by law, outside of the state, by delivering to the recipient a copy of the divorce papers, by leaving them at the individual's dwelling house or usual place of abode with a resident of suitable age and discretion, or by mailing to him or her by certified mail, requesting: "Restricted Delivery - show to whom, date, and address of delivery."
- Learn More About Maryland Divorce.
Maryland Child Support Guidelines and Worksheets: