Maryland divorce law change: What you need to know as of October 1, 2023
The recent Maryland divorce law change aims to make divorce a more streamlined process. While this is good for the court system, more importantly, it can be more beneficial to couples seeking to end their marriage. The trusted guidance of a Howard County divorce lawyer remains essential for fair representation throughout the divorce process.
Maryland will now recognize just one type of divorce
Before the law changed in 2023, Maryland recognized two types of divorce. Limited divorce addressed the financial challenges of couples who were unsure of or unable to end a marriage for various reasons while deciding on issues such as child support, spousal support, and other financial obligations. Limited divorce did not effectively end the marriage and prevented remarriage.
Now, with the passing of the new state law, limited divorce has been removed, allowing only absolute divorce. Absolute divorce legally ends a marriage partnership. With the ending of limited divorce and absolute divorce as the only option for couples, absolute divorce has also experienced dramatic changes that couples considering divorce should be aware of.
Grounds for divorce have also changed
Maryland divorce law changes have now eliminated many of the grounds for divorce that were previously available to couples. These changes may serve to temper some of the contentious behavior that often arises during divorce proceedings. But it also brings into question how much weight the misconduct of a spouse will continue to carry in determining the distribution of assets and spousal support.
The removal of fault-based grounds for divorce
The 2023 Maryland divorce law removes fault-based grounds for divorce. As previously mentioned, it is critical to watch how this will impact the division of assets, even with a judge’s ability still to consider marital misconduct or other factors the court deems necessary for consideration in the divorce process.
Coover Law Firm, LLC is dedicated to assisting clients in pursuing financial stability after divorce, striving to help eliminate the challenges that individuals often encounter after a marriage has ended.
Grounds for divorce under Maryland’s new divorce law
Absolute divorce is now based on three grounds: six-month separation, irreconcilable difference, or mutual consent. The Maryland divorce law change has restructured the grounds for divorce. Below, we look at the basis of these grounds.
A significant change to Maryland divorce laws in 2023 is the separation time for couples to consider as grounds for divorce. Previous law required partners to observe a separation period of 12 months. When individuals are trying to move past divorce to begin a new life, the period of 12 months can stretch endlessly.
These grounds for divorce are changes that may allow spouses to pursue better financial planning for divorce in Maryland. Original laws required that separating partners live without cohabitation for the time of separation. Now, individuals will be allowed to live in the same house while pursuing separate lives legally.
This new qualification of living separately and apart can provide more time for each individual to prepare for the additional costs and living expenses that often result after divorce.
The grounds for divorce under irreconcilable differences state that at least one spouse believes the marriage should end because of unresolvable conditions in the relationship. This explanation leaves interpretation for reasons why the relationship has become broken and unrepairable. The fault-based grounds for divorce of adultery, desertion, and cruel treatment have been removed, and irreconcilable differences have been added.
It will be up to the courts to set the standard of what this new definition will cover. With change, there are always questions. Coover Law Firm, LLC wants to help individuals working through the divorce process under the new guidelines find the answers to their questions to navigate the divorce process efficiently.
Couples will still be able to seek divorce on the grounds of mutual consent under the Maryland divorce law change. A settlement agreement, submitted jointly by both parties, will contain resolutions to the issues of divorce, including:
- Division of marital assets
- Spousal support or alimony
- Monetary awards
- Child custody
- Child support
This settlement agreement can be incorporated into a judgment of absolute divorce if the courts determine that the agreement serves the best interest of a child if there are shared children between individuals. To grant a mutual consent divorce in Maryland based on the submitted agreement, neither spouse can invalidate the current agreement.
Dedicated support in Maryland divorce
Change is never easy. However, with the new Maryland divorce law change, the process of divorce should become more streamlined and beneficial for individuals over time. Mr. Coover of Coover Law Firm, LLC has offered knowledge and experience in Maryland family law for almost four decades.
Maintaining the integrity of a family structure during divorce requires a dedicated team to offer creative solutions to divorce issues while preventing the financial loss of clients. Our team can do both. Call (410) 553-5042 or contact us online to gain invaluable assistance with your Maryland family law questions.