Divorce Law Changes in Maryland 2016
While many couple are celebrating their anniversaries, others are concerned with divorce issues. The new laws that went into effect on October 1, 2015 will help make the transition smoother for some couples.
No Wait Period for Couples Who Want to Divorce:
Family Law - Grounds for Divorce - Mutual Consent
SB0472: Authorizing a court to decree an absolute divorce on the grounds of mutual consent if the parties do not have any minor children in common and the parties execute and submit to the court a written settlement agreement signed by both parties resolving specified issues; authorizing a court to merge or incorporate a specified settlement agreement into a specified divorce decree; authorizing a court to modify or enforce a specified settlement agreement consistent with specified provisions of law; etc.
Expedited Divorce / Uncontested Divorce
When a married couple in Maryland agrees to split up and amicably work out a separation agreement, a new state law eliminates the previously required one year waiting period to file for divorce. For those couples without minor children, who mutually consent to divorce, and agree on a property split, the new law eliminates the waiting period. Both spouses will now be required to attend the court hearing on an uncontested divorce.
Couples with minor children will still be required to live apart for a full year before they can file for divorce, even if they have worked out custody and support issues. For these couples, the clock still starts on the day one spouse moves out of the common home. If the two stay under the same roof, even for one night once they separate, the clock resets to day one.
There are exceptions to the waiting period in current law for cases in which a spouse has committed adultery or has been abusive. Lawyers point to cases where couples didn't want to raise adultery charges in an uncontested divorce, but did so to avoid the waiting period. In other cases, spouses accuse themselves of adultery to expedite a ruling.
These changes to the Maryland divorce laws took effect on Oct 1, 2015.
Contact Law Offices of Gary W. Desper for legal advice and representation in your divorce case.