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Maryland Ends One-Year Waiting Period for Some Divorcing Couples

Over time, many traditional restrictions on divorce have been removed. Following this trend, some Maryland couples no longer have to live apart for a year before filing for a no-fault divorce. The new law, passed in September 2015, states that couples without minor children can waive the waiting period if they agree to the divorce and a division of property. This allows spouses to split amicably and move ahead with their lives without an “in-between period” during which new conflicts might arise.

Most couples with minor children will still have to obey the waiting period that begins to run on the date when the spouses no longer live under the same roof. To complicate matters, one sexual reunion or a single night under the same roof stops the clock and requires the waiting period to return to day one. This can be particularly onerous for couples ending their relationship who are forced to share the same residence temporarily for financial reasons.

In cases involving certain fault grounds for divorce, like adultery and cruel treatment, there is no waiting period. However, if desertion is alleged as a fault ground for divorce, the same type of 12-month waiting period applies, with the same unforgiving one-night rule restarting the clock. Similarly, if the fault ground is based on a spouse’s criminal conviction, the sentence must be for at least three years, and 12 months must have been already served.

For more information on Maryland divorce law, contact an experienced divorce attorney at Mudd, Mudd & Fitzgerald, P.A. in La Plata.

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