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If you live in Maryland and thinking about getting a divorce, it is advisable to first look into Maryland divorce law updates. Getting a divorce in Maryland is harder than usual. It is a state known for its conservative values and paternalistic views when it comes to family and divorce laws. People who want to get divorced in Maryland often take more than a year before their efforts are realized.

These days, however, getting a Maryland divorce is considerably less lengthy nowadays, and this can be credited to the recent Maryland law updates when it comes to divorce and family laws. There are three bills in particular that cater to the need for a more expedient divorce in Maryland. These are House Bill 1185 (Maryland Divorce Waiting Period), House Bill 165 (Limited Divorce clarification), and Senate Bill 472 (Divorce-by-Settlement). All of these bills hope to modernize the way Maryland responds to Maryland divorce.

House Bill 1185: Maryland Divorce Waiting Period

Before House Bill 1185 was passed, couples who want to get a divorce in Maryland need to wait for at least a year before being able to file for a divorce. This previous stipulation was applicable to couples whose legal reason for filing for their divorce are occurrences or events that happened outside Maryland territory. It doesn’t matter if the divorce is uncontested or not—as long as the legal reason didn’t happen in Maryland, unhappy couples would have to wait for a year before filing for a divorce.

With Delegate Kathleen Dumais’ introduction of HB 1185, she gave grounds for particular reasons why this antiquated family law must be changed. Indeed, the place where the legal reason for the divorce occurred should not matter when it comes to Maryland divorce laws. Only the legal reason itself should matter in these cases. With HB 1185’s passage, although the waiting period still exists, it will be changed from the original 12-month period to only 6 months.

House Bill 165: Limited Divorce Clarification in Maryland

There are two types of divorce in Maryland. The first type is the kind that most people are familiar with—absolute divorce. In this kind of divorce, the marriage will be permanently dissolved. In order for an absolute divorce to be granted, at least one of the legal reasons set by Maryland must be met. These reasons are as follows: one year separation, mutual consent, adultery, cruel treatment, desertion, incarceration, and insanity. Without these reasons, the only kind of divorce that the courts can grant is the second type of divorce—limited divorce.

Limited divorce, unlike absolute divorce, does not mean a permanent dissolution of a marriage. Legally, these people are still married, but they can live together and must not have sexual relations or remarry – or they may risk committing adultery.

With HB 165, the grounds for getting a limited divorce will be changed. Unlike old Maryland laws for divorce, the idea of voluntary separation and lack of expectations for future reconciliation will not be required anymore when seeking for a limited divorce. Maryland would no longer be able to stall or prevent limited divorce from happening if the couple does not live together anymore, and if at least one, or both of them, are not amenable to repairing the relationship anymore.

Senate Bill 472: Divorce by Settlement or Mutual Consent Divorce

In Maryland, judges cannot grant an uncontested or absolute divorce, and couples would not be able to file for divorce unless they have lived apart for at least a year without cohabitation. This requirement can be challenging to some couples, especially if their financial situation have been so entangled with each other that they cannot afford to live separately for at least a year.

With Senator Zirkin’s sponsored legislation, the Senate Bill 472, this cumbersome requirement will not be needed anymore. Under this bill, a new ground for divorce has been introduced—mutual consent. Basically, provided that (1) both parties do not have minor children in common, (2) they have submitted mutually-agreed upon settlement agreements, (3) no pleas for setting aside the settlement agreement is filed, and (4) both parties are present at the hearing for absolute divorce, under the grounds of mutual consent, no waiting period before filing for divorce is needed anymore.

Score Some Advantage by Keeping Yourself Update with Maryland Divorce Law Updates

Little by little, the laws for divorce in Maryland are being modernized and made more accessible for individual parties. Knowing the recent Maryland divorce law updates is necessary in order for people to have expedient and more efficient divorce processes. With a faster and more accessible divorce, both parties will have better opportunities to let go and start moving on with the rest their lives.


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