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Divorce in Maryland is often different from what is in the news

Many celebrities gain fame and press coverage for their divorces, such as has been the case for several famous couples in the news. They are seemingly able to get divorced in just a few weeks. Couples that reside in the state of Maryland, however, do not get an accelerated divorce some celebrity couples enjoy, but things are changing.

Divorce in Maryland is quite different from celebrity divorce. Back in 1940, the waiting period to get a divorce was three full years. Later, that was shortened to a two-year period for obtaining a "no fault" divorce. If both parties wanted the divorce without contention, the period could be shortened to one year, but not weeks or a few months like some celebrity divorces.

In October 2011, the Maryland General Assembly made getting a divorce a bit easier for those couples that are not in agreement over wanting a divorce. This change in the divorce law eliminates any problem of one spouse deliberately delaying divorce proceedings out of spite. Maryland couples can now terminate their marriage after one year living separately without cohabitation. No agreement is required.

Having the catchall marital problem of "irreconcilable differences" is not a reason for a fast divorce in Maryland. In this state, there are only a few concrete reasons for seeking a quick divorce. These include:

  • Adultery
  • Desertion for one uninterrupted year
  • Living apart for one year
  • Separation due to a minimum three-year prison sentence, with one year served
  • Insanity and confinement in a mental institution for three years
  • Cruelty or excessively vicious conduct toward spouse
  • Refusal of sexual relations or making living conditions intolerable for 12 months

The decision to terminate a marriage is serious, and the state of Maryland upholds the one-year waiting period for divorce as reasonable. It gives a couple time to decide whether to divorce or stay together. Quickie divorces may work for celebrities and their accelerated lifestyles, but Maryland couples are best served to seek the advice of their local divorce attorney to negotiate the way for a divorce when their marriages end.

Source: The Carroll County Times, "Legal Matters: In Maryland, Kim would have to wait for divorce," Donna Engle, Nov. 12, 2011

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