With the present state of the economy, it is oftentimes very difficult to maintain two separate households for a year or longer before one is even able to FILE for a divorce. Thankfully, the Maryland legislature has taken notice of the burden that a mandatory one-year separation requirement takes on many families. With the passage of Senate Bill SB472, many Marylanders will not have to wait an entire year before filing for divorce.
The new divorce laws take effect on Oct. 2, 2015, and you can see a full text version of the laws here.
Qualifying for a By Consent Divorce
Those that qualify for this new “ground of divorce” are individuals who:
- Have been able to resolve all pending issues with their soon-to-be former spouse
- Have a signed settlement agreement
- Do not have any minor children in common
- Consent to the divorce
Another requirement is that both parties must attend the final uncontested divorce hearing.
Although individuals with minor children in common do not currently qualify for a “by consent” divorce with no one-year separation, couples who have adult or emancipated children together may take advantage of the new law. Similarly, if one of the spouses has children from a prior marriage or relationship, but the other individual is not the biological or adoptive parent, the parties may be able to file without waiting a full year.
Divorcing parents with young children in common may be disappointed that they are unable to “waive” the one-year waiting period, but this change in Maryland divorce law is certainly a step in the right direction. Hopefully the Maryland General Assembly will continue to lessen the separation requirements for those who do not yet qualify for this relief.
Other Developments in Maryland Divorce Law
Another significant development in the area of Maryland family law is that the legislature has passed House Bill HB 1185. This reduces the time from one year to six months for the time needed for one of the parties to reside in Maryland if the grounds for divorce occurred outside of Maryland.
For More Information, Contact Our Maryland Divorce Attorneys
If you would like to discuss your rights under these new laws or have questions regarding any other family law matter, please do not hesitate to contact me or any of the other lawyers at Andalman & Flynn at (301) 563-6685. You can also reach us online, and we will get back to you shortly to schedule a consultation.
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