Did you know that when a person obtains a divorce on the no-fault grounds of a 1-year separation in Maryland, the court STILL requires one of the parties to bring a “corroborating witness” to court with them on the day of the divorce hearing?
Divorce Law in Maryland
The current law requires that a witness, who is NOT a party to the action and a competent adult over the age of 18, testify at an uncontested divorce hearing to corroborate certain facts which may include:
- That at least one of the parties has been a Maryland resident for the requisite amount of time prior to filing for divorce;
- That the parties separated more than 1 year before the divorce case was filed;
- That the parties have continued to live separate and apart since the time of their separation; and,
- That there is no reasonable hope or expectation of a reconciliation of their marriage.
Many clients often ask why it is necessary for them to drag a friend, neighbor or relative with them to court. Others find it to be an unnecessary invasion into the personal details of their divorces.
For the witnesses, it is difficult enough to remember the exact date that another couple separated, let alone how strange it is to be asked whether or not your friend has “resumed sexual relations” with his or her spouse during the course of their separation.
Maryland’s New Divorce Law
Thankfully, a new bill has been introduced into the Maryland Legislature and, if approved, it would change the law requiring third party corroborating testimony for certain divorces.
The proposal would change Sections 7–101 and 8–104 of the Family Law Article in the Maryland Code so that “…in a suit for absolute divorce on the grounds of voluntary separation, a separation agreement is full corroboration of the plaintiff’s testimony that the separation was voluntary if the agreement:
- states that the spouses voluntarily agreed to separate; and
- is executed under oath before the application for divorce is filed.”
Divorce Attorneys in Montgomery County, Maryland
We recognize that divorce is emotionally exhausting, but it is also a time for reflection and renewal and, when necessary, we will help you find the right professionals to guide you through this period and into your new life. Our family law lawyers pursue your rights and claims quickly and aggressively so that you can focus on exploring and shaping the possibilities of your new life.
NOTE: This is different from the Mutual Consent ground of divorce., which you can read more about here.
You May Also Be Interested In…
- Questions Separated, Divorced, or Living Together Parents Need to Ask When Filing Taxes and Claiming Dependents
- What Does it Mean that My Settlement Agreement is “Incorporated, But Not Merged” into the Judgment of Divorce?
- New Maryland Laws May Help You Get that Divorce Faster!