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New Divorce Laws in Maryland – Effective October 1, 2023

Maryland has now made it easier and faster for couples to obtain a divorce.

Under the new laws, there will only be no-fault grounds for an absolute divorce.

These grounds are:

  • Six-Month Separation: This means spouses who live separately for six months are eligible for an absolute divorce. Importantly, living separately is now defined more broadly to include “pursued separate lives,” which means the couple can be living separately within the same house.
  • Irreconcilable Differences: This is not specifically defined but can include reasons for the end of the marriage as set forth in the complaint for divorce.
  • Mutual Consent: This is a continuation of existing law. If the parties have a signed, written agreement they can obtain an absolute divorce with no waiting period and no separation required.

With this significant change in Maryland law, the prior grounds, including fault grounds, are no longer available. These included adultery, desertion, criminal convictions leading to jail/prison time;  twelve month separation; insanity; constructive desertion; and cruelty of treatment.

The reasons for the marriage ending can still be listed in the complaint for divorce (irreconcilable differences or six month separation) and can still be considered in custody, alimony, support and/or financial matters, but the divorce itself will be “no fault” under these new provisions.

The new laws also eliminate the concept of a limited divorce. This was a form of relief where the Court could recognize a legal separation and define limited, interim rights. This was mostly an antiquated concept and rarely necessary.

Overall, the new Maryland laws for no-fault divorce will provide for a faster and more efficient divorce process, while still allowing the Court to consider important issues and concerns.

Family Lawyers helping you with your Divorce and Custody Matters in Maryland and D.C.

We’re your ally and advocate during what can be the most difficult period in your life. It’s our mission to help you come out stronger at the end of the process without compromising relationships and without squandering assets.

Brian Wise, named Best of Bethesda Attorney 2019

Who we are

Our goal is to help individuals and families navigate through an emotionally difficult process while maintaining family relationships and preserving assets for the future.

Brian and his family law team believe that the best way to resolve a case is in the conference room through settlement talks, negotiation and mediation.

What we do

Clients come to us with complex cases including divorce, child custody, child support, alimony, domestic violence, paternity, contempt, property division, modification, pre-marital agreements, separation, and property settlement agreements.

We also handle complex financial and property litigation matters including retirement, pension, investment accounts, inheritance, source of funds and tracing for non-marital property, business valuation, stock and stock options, monetary award, alimony and alimony buyout concepts, and real estate issues.

How we’re different

Brian and the family law division are highly skilled litigators and are able to handle complex financial, support, property and custody matters but litigation is rarely considered as a first or best option.

Brian is a certified family law mediator, has served in the Court system as a trusted mediator for families in Maryland and DC, and he continues to provide private mediation services for couples and families as part of his practice.

Brian Wise and the entire team helped ensure the divorce process went as smoothly as possible. I will continue to reach out to them, even though the divorce is final, due to my ever changing circumstances. I highly recommend this Outstanding Legal Team!

I am so grateful for Brian’s legal acuity and counsel. He patiently answered every question that I asked, and there were many.

To this day, I appreciate his attention to detail in taking things one day at a time, while simultaneously providing guidance and planning within the mindset of what is best for long-term family goals. The result was something that only a genuinely caring professional could have achieved; and, you either have those skills or you don’t.

Fortunately for my children, Brian does have these skills and it made all of the difference in the world because that eased the burden of navigating through the divorce process, and I was able to be there for my kids as a result.


So grateful

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