No Statutory Waiting Period for Some Divorces

Did you know?

Effective October 1, 2015, there are new divorce grounds in Maryland which permit couples to get divorced without a statutory waiting period.

To obtain an absolute divorce under these new “mutual consent” grounds, they must meet the following criteria:

(1)  They must not have any minor children in common;

(2)  They must have executed and submitted to the Court a written settlement agreement signed by both of them.  The written settlement agreement must resolves all issues relating to

(a) alimony;  and

(b) the distribution to property, including the right to a monetary award; transfer of family use personal property; transfer of real property used as their principal residence when they last lived together; and transfer of any interest in a pension, profit sharing, or deferred compensation plan;

(3)  Neither party has asked the court to invalidate the written settlement agreement prior to the divorce hearing; and

(4)  Both parties must appear in court for the absolute divorce hearing.

A corroborating witness is not required for the divorce hearing.  (Note that this is the practice in the Circuit Court for Washington County, Maryland; other jurisdictions may have different requirements.)

There remains also the requirement that one of the parties have been a resident of Maryland for at least six (6) months prior to the filing of the complaint of absolute divorce.  And one party must file and serve a Complaint in accordance with the Maryland Rules.  The other party must file and serve an Answer in accordance with the Maryland Rules.

These new grounds should simplify and speed up the divorce process for some married couples.  If you would like to discuss these grounds, or any family law issue, we invite you to schedule a consultation.

Please note that the above is not intended as legal advice and is no substitute for consultation with an attorney.