Maryland bills would loosen state's strict divorce requirements

Maryland lawmakers are considering a bill that would loosen a current waiting period required for divorce.

Measure would scrap Maryland's one-year waiting period for divorce

A number of bills currently before Maryland lawmakers would loosen the requirements for getting a divorce in the state, according to the Frederick News-Post. One of the proposed measures would do away with the current one-year waiting period that is required for many divorces in Maryland. The other proposal effects only limited divorces, which are somewhat uncommon, but could help victims of spousal abuse get out of troubled relationships. Supporters of the bills say they will help bring divorce law in Maryland up to date.

Need for change

Maryland is widely considered to have some of the strictest divorce laws in the country. Most couples in the state who are looking to divorce must first live apart for a year before they can begin divorce proceedings. According to the Baltimore Sun, the one-year waiting period can currently only be bypassed when abuse or adultery occurred in the marriage, one of the spouses has a serious criminal conviction, or in cases of year-long desertion.

Critics of the current law say that forcing people to wait a year to get divorced can cause serious problems. Waiting for divorce proceedings to begin means that dividing marital property also has to be put off, which can prove costly and stressful for couples who need to sell a home, for example, and divide the proceeds quickly.

Bypass the waiting period

A bill currently working through the state legislature, however, would largely do away with the one-year waiting period for many divorcing couples. If the bill passes, couples who agree on matters such as alimony, childcare, and property division would be able to bypass the waiting period. Such an agreement would also have to be independently reviewed to make sure the agreement is in the best interests of any children the divorcing couple may have.

Another bill has also been put forward that would do away with the requirement for each spouse in a limited divorce to prove that their separation is voluntary and that they cannot reconcile. While limited divorces are relatively uncommon, doing away with the requirements could help people in abusive relationships get out of such relationships more easily.

Family law

With divorce law in Maryland in flux, it is important to make sure that one's own family law concerns are handled by someone who has the very best qualifications and experience to understand the latest legal developments. An expert family law attorney can assist anyone who is planning on or going through a divorce understand what their best options may be and what to expect in the days and months ahead.

Keywords: divorce, family law, property, separation