Garner & Garner, P.A. Articles Is it Time for Change in Maryland’s “No-Fault” Divorce Laws?

Is it Time for Change in Maryland’s “No-Fault” Divorce Laws?

By Garner & Garner, P.A.  Feb. 3, 2014 9:51a

Those who wish to get divorced in Maryland cannot seek an immediate "no-fault" divorce. A petition for divorce is only accepted immediately in cases of fault such as adultery, criminal conviction of one spouse resulting in significant imprisonment, insanity, domestic violence (toward spouse or children) or desertion. Divorce due to desertion of a spouse can only occur if the "offending" spouse has been gone for a continuous 12 months or if there is proof that there is no chance for reconciliation. The stipulations for accepting a divorce petition in a "no-fault" situation require a fairly lengthy amount of time before the petition can be filed. In cases of voluntary separation, the two parties must have lived apart for at least 12 full months and show there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation before the petition can be filed. While some states will accept a no-fault divorce petition without requiring the two parties to wait an entire year before being able to move on with their lives, this is definitely not the case in Maryland. Many feel that this 12-month separation requirement be removed because adults should be allowed to decide when their marriage is over rather than the state imposing circumstances under which a divorce is allowed. Make sure you have the help of a skilled divorce lawyer if you wish to petition for divorce.

Additionally, advocates for domestic violence victims are seeking changes to the state's strict law concerning domestic abuse, orders of protection (restraining order) and divorce. It is argued that current state laws require a much too severe burden of proof on those who claim to be victims of domestic abuse. Senator Brian E. Frosh is working on legislation that would make the burden of proof more reasonable so victims can get an order of protection more quickly. This would also affect divorce laws since domestic violence is one of the only circumstances under which a spouse can immediately petition for divorce. If it is ruled that an abused spouse does not have sufficient proof of domestic violence then she or he may be forced to remain in a very unhappy and potentially dangerous marriage.

Columbia Divorce Attorney for Domestic Violence Cases

Whether you have been the victim of domestic violence or simply wish to seek a legal separation from your spouse then you need qualified legal representation you can trust. Contact a divorce attorney on our dedicated team at the law offices of Garner & Garner, P.A. now to find out how we may be able to help you.

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