The nature of family law regarding divorce is complex, particularly in Maryland, where there many different divorce options. The residency requirements for divorce in this state have recently changed and new grounds for divorce have been created.
If you’re filing for divorce in Maryland, review the details below to ensure that you have the correct and most up-to-date information.
Residency Requirements for Divorces with Grounds in the State of Maryland
If the legal reason, or “ground”, for divorce occurred in Maryland, you need to be a current resident at the time of the divorce filing. To prove residency, you’ll need to state Maryland as your state of residency in your divorce complaint. Your address and voting location are important factors to proving residency. You may also include things like where you pay taxes, bank accounts, utility bills, etc.
While proving residency may seem easy, it’s still important to remember that failure to do so can lead to your case being dismissed. For recent Maryland residents, proper proof is even more crucial. Support your statement with solid evidence and inform the judge of your intention to remain in Maryland. Testimony from employers and relatives can be helpful.
If the grounds for your divorce occurred outside of Maryland, you or your spouse will need to be able to prove residency in Maryland for 6 months or longer. A 2015 session of the Maryland Legislature brought about several changes. Three bills were passed by the Legislature and approved by the Governor: HB 1185, HB 165, and SB 472.
Let’s review the changes to residency requirements for divorces with grounds outside of Maryland first.
HB 1185: Reduction of Residency Requirements for Divorce in Maryland
Provided that the grounds for divorce took place outside of the state of Maryland, the required length of residency is now 6 months instead of one year. The residency requirement applies to only one party involved in the divorce. The reduction of this waiting period means that couples can file for and receive a divorce more quickly even if the legal grounds occurred outside the state.
HB 165: Repeal of Ground for Limited Divorces
HB 165 brings about big changes for limited divorces. Limited divorces allow spouses to live separately and file taxes as single taxpayers while still legally remaining husband and wife. Previously, grounds for a limited divorce required the voluntary separation of parties and a lack of expectation for reconciliation.
HB 165 repeals this condition. If one party wants to end the marriage and no longer lives with his or her spouse, the limited divorce process may begin, provided that all other requirements are met.
SB 472: New Ground for “Mutual Consent Divorces”
The final bill, SB 472, relates to couples with no minor children seeking a divorce. Couples who have no minor children together and have settled all issues in written and signed settlement agreements will no longer face a waiting period. Previously, a one year separation was required.
This change provides a new ground for divorce in Maryland: “mutual consent.” Four conditions must be met first:
- The couple must have no minor children together.
- The couple must have signed a written settlement agreement regarding alimony real and personal property rights prepared to submit to the Court.
- They must not ask for changes to the written agreement or request that the Court set it aside.
- Each party must appear at the uncontested divorce hearing.
These recent updates will make the process of filing for and receiving a divorce easier for many Maryland residents. However, the input and expertise of a professional divorce attorney is essential to protecting your interests. The knowledgeable and experience family law attorneys at Wendy Satin Law will protect your rights. For effective legal representation, contact us today at 301.762.1000.