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Maryland - Divorce Requirements
The following information is to provide a basic understanding of the various aspects of Maryland divorce.

Click here for more specific information regarding Maryland divorce laws.

Every effort has been made to assure that the information contained in these pages is accurate however, due to the ever changing nature of the law some material may be outdated or may no longer apply.

Residency Requirements Maryland laws require at least one party to have resided in the state of Maryland for one (1) year before the divorce forms are filed, if the grounds for divorce occurred outside the state. If the grounds for divorce occurred within the state of Maryland, there are no residency requirements but at least one spouse must be a resident of the state of Maryland
Where to File The divorce forms may be filed in the Maryland county where either spouse resides
Grounds for Divorce Under Maryland divorce laws, you can obtain a "no fault" divorce in one of two ways. One is where both spouses mutually agree to separate and have been living separate and apart for twelve (12) months. The other is where the two spouses live separate and apart for two (2) years without interruption, whether or not both spouses agree. In addition to no fault grounds, Maryland also has the following fault grounds:
  • Adultery
  • Desertion if it has continued for twelve (12) months without interruption, it is deliberate and final, and there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation
  • Conviction of a crime if the defendant has been sentenced to serve at least three (3) years or an indeterminate sentence in a penal institution and has served at least twelve (12) months of the sentence
  • Insanity
  • Cruelty or excessively vicious conduct toward the complaining party is there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation
Voluntary or required mediation Yes
Voluntary or recommended CounselingYes
Property Distribution Subject to the provisions of subsection (b) of this section, after the court determines which property is marital property, and the value of the marital property, the court may transfer ownership of an interest in property described below, grant a monetary award, or both, as an adjustment of the equities and rights of the parties concerning marital property, whether or not alimony is awarded.

The court may transfer ownership of an interest in:
  • a pension, retirement, profit sharing, or deferred compensation plan, from one party to either or both parties
  • subject to the consent of any lienholders, family use personal property, from one or both parties to either or both parties
Subsection B
Factors in determining amount and method of payment or terms of transfer.- The court shall determine the amount and the method of payment of a monetary award, or the terms of the transfer of the interest in property described in subsection (a)(2) of this section, or both, after considering each of the following factors:
  • the contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party to the well-being of the family
  • the value of all property interests of each party
  • the economic circumstances of each party at the time the award is to be made
  • The circumstances that contributed to the estrangement of the parties
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The age of each party
  • The physical and mental condition of each party
  • How and when specific marital property or interest in property described in subsection (a)(2) of this section, was acquired, including the effort expended by each party in accumulating the marital property or the interest in property described in subsection (a)(2) of this section, or both
  • The contribution by either party of property described in § 8-201(e)(3) of this subtitle to the acquisition of real property held by the parties as tenants by the entirety
  • Any award of alimony and any award or other provision that the court has made with respect to family use personal property or the family home
  • Any other factor that the court considers necessary or appropriate to consider in order to arrive at a fair and equitable monetary award
Subsection C
Award reduced to judgment.- The court may reduce to a judgment any monetary award made under this section, to the extent that any part of the award is due and owing.
Child Custody Maryland does not have specific guidelines or factors for the court to use to determine child custody.

In any custody or visitation proceeding, if the court has reasonable grounds to believe that a child has been abused or neglected by a party to the proceeding, the court shall determine whether abuse or neglect is likely to occur if custody or visitation rights are granted to the party

Unless otherwise ordered by a court, the law prohibits access to medical, dental, and educational records concerning the child from being denied to a parent because the parent does not have physical custody of the child.
Child Support In any proceeding to establish or modify child support, whether pendente lite or permanent, the court shall use the child support guidelines. If the court determines that the application of the guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate in a particular case, the court shall make a written finding or specific finding on the record stating the reasons for departing from the guidelines.
Spousal Support making the determination for alimony, Maryland laws specify the following guidelines for the court to consider:
  • The ability of the party seeking alimony to be wholly or partly self-supporting
  • The time necessary for the party seeking alimony to gain sufficient education or training to enable that party to find suitable employment
  • The standard of living that the parties established during their marriage
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The contributions, monetary and non-monetary, of each party to the well-being of the family
  • The circumstances that contributed to the estrangement of the parties
  • The age of each party
  • The physical and mental condition of each party
  • The ability of the party from whom alimony is sought to meet that party's needs while meeting the needs of the party seeking alimony
  • Any agreement between the parties
  • The financial needs and financial resources of each party, including
        a. All income and assets, including property that does not produce income
        b. Any award of property made by the court
        c. The nature and amount of the financial obligations of each party
        d. The right of each party to receive retirement benefits
  • Whether the award would cause a spouse who is a resident of a related institution as defined in § 19-301 of the Health-General Article and from whom alimony is sought to become eligible for medical assistance earlier than would otherwise occur