Maryland's New Grounds for Divorce

Lerch Early's Legal Update

People wishing to obtain a no-fault divorce in Maryland no longer need to have a mutual and voluntary separation. Maryland law requires “grounds” in order to obtain an absolute divorce. Previously, there were two types of grounds: fault-based (adultery, abandonment, desertion or constructive desertion of at least 12 months, cruelty, excessively vicious conduct, insanity being institutionalized for at least three years, and conviction of a felony or misdemeanor with a sentence of at least three years) and no-fault (mutual and voluntary separation of one year, or a two-year separation without the requirement of being either mutual or voluntary).

Maryland’s new no-fault ground eliminates the requirement for a mutual and voluntary separation. Effective October 1, 2011, the only no-fault ground for divorce is a one-year separation, without the requirement of being mutual or voluntary. The one-year separation rule requires that for one year the parties have lived separate and apart without cohabitation and without interruption.

For more information about the grounds needed for divorce, contact Erin Kopelman at (301) 347-1261 or

This content is for your information only and is not intended to constitute legal advice. Please consult your attorney before acting on any information contained here.


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