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Mutual and voluntary separation in Maryland divorces

Maryland residents thinking about divorce should first know a few things before undertaking such an important step. First of all, you must be a Maryland resident to even be considered for divorce. That means that you must have resided within the state for at least one year before filing. It is also important to note that either party can file a divorce petition in whichever Maryland County they currently reside.

Under normal circumstances, Maryland family law judges will look first at a divorce petition for proper grounds for divorce. Typically, these are things like:

-- Adultery

-- Desertion of the marriage for at least one year.

-- Conviction of a felony for which the defendant has been sentenced to at least three years in prison and has served at least one year of that conviction.

-- Cruelty or domestic violence against the petitioner or a minor child involved in the divorce.

These are just a few of the more common grounds for divorce that Maryland judges would have little difficulty determining that the spouses involved need to go their separate ways. However, Maryland law also provides for couples to demonstrate their need for divorce, which can greatly ease the legal process.

Mutual and voluntary separation between both spouses for at least a period of one year prior to the filing of the divorce is arguably one of the best grounds for divorce in Maryland. Maryland family law courts have little incentive to stand in the way of granting a divorce to spouses that have lived apart and show no signs of reconciliation.

Divorce can still be tricky even for couples that have been separated for a long time. That's why the advice of an attorney is helpful when you put together your petition. You may also need to work on a child custody schedule, child support plan and other issues if you share children with your soon-to-be ex-spouse.

Source:  General Assembly of Maryland, "Article-Family Law, Section 7-103" Aug. 13, 2014

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