Are you wondering if you can get an immediate divorce in Maryland? While there is no such thing as an “immediate divorce” in the state, we often hear potential clients ask about immediate divorce. People using this term may be disappointed to know that even though Maryland doesn’t require a waiting period before you may get your final divorce, an uncontested divorce usually takes approximately two to three months.
In this blog post, we will explain the grounds for an absolute divorce in Maryland, shed light on the typical timeline for divorces, and provide insight into the factors that can affect the duration of the process. As the leading family law firm in Maryland, Petrelli Previtera is dedicated to helping you navigate the complexities of divorce law in Maryland.
Grounds for an Absolute Divorce in Maryland:
To obtain an absolute divorce in Maryland, one spouse must provide at least one legally accepted reason, known as a “ground,” for divorce. These grounds fall into two categories: “No Fault” and “Fault.”
No Fault Grounds:
a) Separation: A 12-month separation, during which the spouses live apart without sexual contact, is required to establish a “no fault” ground for divorce.
b) Mutual Consent: Since 2015, Maryland has recognized mutual consent as a ground for divorce. If both parties agree to divorce, a court may grant an absolute divorce without a waiting period.
Maryland accepts seven fault grounds for an absolute divorce, including adultery, desertion, conviction of certain crimes, insanity, cruelty, and excessively vicious conduct. We will focus on adultery and desertion as examples.
No waiting period is required.
Adultery must be proven to the court through text messages, emails, or photographs demonstrating an extramarital relationship.
Mere admission of adultery by a spouse is not sufficient evidence.
b) Actual Desertion:
The deserting spouse must have intended to leave the marriage against the wishes of the other spouse.
The deserting spouse must be physically absent from the marital home for an uninterrupted 12 months without justification, with no hope for reconciliation.
Understanding the Timelines:
The duration of a divorce in Maryland can vary depending on the circumstances of each case. Here is a general overview:
If both parties agree on the terms of their divorce, the process typically takes approximately two to three months. Maryland requires a final hearing for a magistrate to review the settlement agreement and ensure all requirements are met. However, if the courts are experiencing backlogs in the county where you filed for divorce, it could take additional time to schedule that hearing.
In cases where disputes arise and an agreement cannot be reached, the divorce process becomes more complex and lengthy. Legal steps and negotiations can add several months to the process. If you and your spouse are unable to reach a settlement agreement at any point, going to trial will require even more time, usually exceeding a year.
While immediate divorces are impossible in Maryland there are ways to expedite the divorce process. Our legal team is here to guide you through the process. Our divorce lawyers are well-versed in Maryland’s complex divorce laws and can provide the necessary support and expertise to achieve a favorable outcome. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and protect your interests during this challenging time.