A Guide To Maryland Mutual Consent Divorce
You and your spouse both know it is time to go your separate ways. Divorce is inevitable, but you dont think either is specifically at fault for the break-up of the marriage. Under Maryland mutual consent divorce laws, your marriage can be dissolved more quickly and less expensively, but only if you qualify for the streamlined program.
This blog post will provide an overview of mutual consent divorce in Maryland. It will discuss who qualifies to file a mutual consent divorce, and what the process is. It will also address some common problems that could turn a mutual consent case into a divorce battle in court.
The Grounds For An Absolute Divorce Are:
Conviction of misdemeanor or felony in any us state or court.
Cruelty towards the plaintiff or the minor child of the plaintiff, without any expectations of the reconciliation of the couple.
Vicious conduct towards the plaintiff or minor child of the plaintiff, without any expectations of the reconciliation of the couple.
Mutual consent of both spouses.
Uncontested Divorce In Maryland
In Maryland , you may be able to get an “uncontested divorce,” which simply means that you and your spouse reach a settlement agreement on all of the issues that must be addressed in order to end your marriage, such as dividing your property and caring for your children. Otherwise, you’ll have to resort to a contested divorce, meaning that you go to trial and have a judge decide at least one of those issues.
Of course, many couples start out with disagreements when they file for divorce but eventually manage to work them out, either on their own or with professional help from divorce mediation and/or lawyers. That way, they can save the extra time and expense of trial, but they may still have costs like paying a mediator’s or attorney’s fees.
For couples who can agree at the outset on all of the issues in their divorce, Maryland offers an even quicker and less expensive form of uncontested divorce, known as “mutual consent” divorce. This article explains what that means and how to get this type of divorce.
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Should You File For Divorce On No
If youre considering filing for divorce in the state of Maryland, you have a couple of options.
In Maryland, a spouse can obtain a divorce on one of two grounds: fault or no-fault.
In a fault-based divorce, one or both parties seek to end the marriage due to some type of perceived or actual wrongdoing on either side. In a no-fault divorce, no blame is placed on either party for the purposes of obtaining a divorce.
Today, lets dig into the difference between the two:
What Is The Advantage Of A Mutual Consent Divorce
- It can be fast. A faster divorce means both you and your spouse can move on to find your own, separate happiness.
- It doesnt require living under two separate roofs. Whether its because emotions are running high, or because you cant sell the marital home, or neither of you wants to move out of the house yet, or the finances wont allow you to have two separate homes, separating homes can seem an impossibility. This ground allows people who are living together to be divorced anyway.
- It can save you money. As with any divorce, a signed agreement is the cheapest way to resolve the issues between yourself and your spouse.
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What Are The No
For a divorce based on a 12-month separation, the filing spouse must prove that the parties have lived separate and apart for at least 12 months, and they have not engaged in sexual relations during that 12-month period. There is no requirement that the parties have entered into a written settlement agreement prior to filing under this ground.
In contrast, a divorce based on mutual consent requires that prior to the filing of the complaint for divorce, the parties have entered into a written settlement agreement. If there are minor children, they must attach the child support guidelines worksheet to the agreement.
The settlement agreement must resolve all issues relating to alimony, legal and physical custody, child support, and the distribution of property .
In addition, after reviewing the terms of the settlement agreement, the court must be satisfied that the terms of the agreement relating to the minor or dependent children are in the childrens best interest. There is no requirement that the parties have lived separate and apart.
What Is Mutual Consent
In divorces, mutual consent is when both couples agree to the divorce. As such, they can jointly waive the legal requirement that couples live separately for up to a year before obtaining a divorce. Some requirements must be met, including not having any kids, the signing of a Marital Separation Agreement, and both parties appearing at a mutual consent hearing.
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Types Of Divorce In Maryland
- “absolute divorce,” which is final, and
- “limited divorce,” which is similar to legal separation in other states and allows spouses to have the court address issues like temporary child custody or support before they’re eligible for absolute divorce.
When you file a petition for absolute divorce, you must choose one of the legal “grounds” that the state allows. Some of these grounds are based on faultmeaning that you are seeking a divorce because of your spouse’s conduct, such as cruel treatment, adultery, or desertion. If you choose a fault-based ground, your spouse is likely to contest your claims. Then you’ll have to prove those claims in courtwhich can be very expensive and time-consuming.
But Maryland law also includes two “no-fault” divorce grounds:
- you and your spouse have “lived apart in separate residences, without interruption or sexual intercourse,” for at least 12 months before you file the complaint or
- you have mutually consented to the divorce and have submitted a written marital settlement agreement.
Why Maryland Needed Mutual Consent Divorce
While wrong-doing plays a role in some divorces, many other times, the spouses simply know they are better off living separately.
Before 2015, Maryland couples could not get divorced unless they met one of 7 legal grounds:
- Conviction of a felony or misdemeanor with at least a 3 year sentence and 1 year actual incarceration
- Cruelty toward a spouse or child
- Excessively vicious treatment of a spouse or child
- Total separation of at least 12 months, uninterrupted .
Except for the last one, these grounds were all based on some specific wrong-doing or conduct. While wrong-doing plays a role in some divorces, many other times, the spouses simply know they are better off living separately. Before Maryland passed the mutual consent divorce law, that meant they had to live completely separately and pay the cost of two residences for an entire year before they could even begin the divorce process.
The Maryland mutual consent divorce law gets rid of the 12-month waiting period. It allows couples to get a divorce with no wait, even if they cant afford to separate until the Judgment is final. But just because the process is streamlined doesnt mean everything about a mutual consent divorce is easy.
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What Happens At A Mutual Consent Divorce Hearing
Divorce can be a highly continuous and drawn-out process. Thankfully, there are ways to make the process simpler and less conflict-filled. One such way is by establishing mutual consent. Fortunately, Maryland has a relatively simple process that can help couples obtain mutual consent, close out their marriage, and move on with their lives.
Mutual Consent In An Absolute Divorce
In this post, were going to dive into a specific ground for absolute divorce: mutual consent.
The mutual consent ground for divorce is Marylands version of the no-fault divorce available in many other states.
The mutual consent ground essentially says the divorce is based on irreconcilable differences in the marriage, and that theres no hope for resolving the differences and no hope that the couple will reconcile.
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Finalizing Your Divorce In Maryland
To get a divorce in Maryland, even if it is an uncontested one, and both spouses have an agreement on all the issues, the spouse who filed the divorce complaint must appear in court to give a specific testimony about marriage and divorce and the plaintiff must also bring along a witness to validate the testimony. In case of a contested divorce and there are issues that have not been settled at the divorce hearing or at the trial, both spouses will have to appear in court.
The plaintiff must then write to the court clerk requesting a date for an uncontested hearing. The plaintiff should come to the hearing along with a witness, who can testify to the residency of the plaintiff. The plaintiff should also carry copies of the marriage certificate and separation agreement and information supporting his/her residency in Maryland.
The plaintiff must then answer questions put forth by the judge at the final hearing. The defendant spouse can appear in court but can also waive his/her appearance. The final judgment will be recorded by the court reporter and will be approved by the judge. If all the rules have been followed and the divorce order is reasonable and fair, the judge will sign the order and the divorce will be finalized.
How To Get A Mutual Divorce
You must demonstrate to the court the following to be qualified for a mutual consent divorce:
- Both parties have to sign a written settlement agreement that specifies property, financial, and alimony issues.
- An agreement signed by both parties addresses child custody disputes.
- That neither party has altered their thoughts between the signing of the agreement and the date of your divorce hearing.
Although you and your husband may agree that a divorce is necessary, disputes often arise when it comes to making the above options. Your agreement paperwork will be presented to a judge during your divorce filing after you and your ex-spouse meet the qualifications, and the court will analyze that agreement to determine the terms of your divorce.
Keep in mind that the agreements will be combined into your Decision of Absolute Divorce, not incorporated. It may appear straightforward, but like with most things, its easier said than done.
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Talk To An Experienced Maryland Divorce Attorney Today
While the introduction, and expansion, of divorce by mutual consent is good news for many separating couples in Maryland, it is wise to approach this grounds for divorce with caution. Many people view a divorce by mutual consent as being simple and straightforward, and many times it can be. However, just as there is no such thing as two identical marriages, no two divorces are exactly alike either. An experienced divorce lawyer will not only advocate for you to make sure your interests are represented today, they will also have the foresight to alert you to potential issues that may arise down the road. Dont underestimate the power of professional advice when your future depends on it.
If you are facing a divorce in Maryland, call Coover Law Firm, LLC, today at to schedule an initial consultation with experienced Howard County divorce lawyer, Fred L. Coover. We are conveniently located in Columbia, MD, between Merriweather Post Pavillion and the Mall in Columbia.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog post is provided for general educational & informational purposes only. It is not intended to convey legal advice or serve as a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter.
Pairing Collaborative Practice With Mutual Consent Divorce
There are many ways to negotiate the terms of your Judgment of Absolute Divorce. Sometimes, especially in short-term marriages without children, couples can easily agree that each will keep his or her own assets and go separate ways. Other times, a single meeting with a mediator or attorney can be enough to explain how the law works and help you sort out and resolve your concerns. The more assets you and your spouse own, the more complicated it may be to divide assets in a way that makes sense. When kids get involved, that complexity increases to a whole different level.
But just because you have a complex family situation doesnt mean you cant take advantage of Marylands mutual consent divorce process. As one form of uncontested divorce, mutual consent divorce pairs well with the collaborative practice model to help families resolve their differences with the help of collaboratively trained counsel, and avoid the publicity and embarrassment of court trial.
When the collaborative process is done, you and your spouse will be able to enter a settlement agreement on property, alimony, child custody, access, and support. You will have everything you need to complete a Maryland mutual consent divorce.
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Common Questions About Mutual Consent Divorce In Maryland
Although divorce by mutual consent has been around for a few years now in Maryland, it is still a fairly new concept. As a result, there are a lot of questions surrounding divorce by mutual consent.
When couples are facing a divorce, it is not uncommon to seek advice from friends and family members who have gone through a divorce themselves. However, the problem with this is that, if those trusted advisors went through the divorce process prior to 2015, they may be providing outdated information. For this reason, it is important that you consult with an experienced divorce attorney early in the divorce process, to gain a complete understanding of all of your options. Decisions made early in the process can have a huge impact on the ultimate outcome of a divorce settlement, and getting professional advice right out of the gate will save you a lot of time, stress, and money down the road.
1. How Do I File for a Mutual Consent Divorce in Maryland?
In simple terms, qualifying couples who wish to file for a mutual consent divorce must do the following 3 things:
2. How Long Does a Mutual Consent Divorce Take in Maryland?
States That Allow Divorce By Mutual Consent
No-fault divorce is available in every state in the United States. In only Tennessee, Mississippi, and South Dakota, the parties must agree to give information about incompatibility or why the marriage partners have changed, grown apart, or have irreconcilable differences in order to seek a no-fault divorce. When the married partners mutually agree that the marriage is no longer worth continuing, a no-fault divorce will make it simple for the couple to split.
Otherwise, only one party needs to petition for irreconcilable differences in the rest of the country, and any excuse will suffice.
Every state in the United States recognizes no-fault divorce in some form reason being it is easy and less expensive than a fault divorce, this alternative is more popular. Many people believe that a no-fault divorce puts a household with children under less stress than a fault divorce. By law, one party member must admit that the marriage is irreparably broken.
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What Can You Expect At A Hearing
The answer to this question will vary by state. In Maryland, the parties will appear at this hearing, and will likely be represented by legal counsel. The Judge will ask for proof that at least one member of the couple lives in Maryland. She will also confirm that the previously agreed upon Marital Separation Agreement is still something that is consented to by both members of the couple and that both members of the couple wish to proceed with the mutual consent divorce. If either says no, the divorce proceedings will cease.If all of these criteria are met, the court will grant the divorce, and the marriage will be dissolved.When you are in the middle of a divorce, it is vital that you obtain counsel that are experts in divorce law and who have as much experience and knowledge as possible at helping Maryland couples end their marriage while preserving their rights.
What Is A Mutual Consent Divorce
A Maryland Mutual Consent Divorce has a no-fault ground for obtaining an absolute divorce. When both parties do not have any minor children. They have to sign a settlement agreement that speaks to all marital property issues. Property issues include, but not limited to, real property such as a home, pensions, and alimony.
There are also steps that include in obtaining a mutual consent divorce. This also helps you to acknowledge the source of the grounds that will justify the filing of a case for the divorce.
Continue reading here: Mutual Consent Divorce| The Murphy Law Firm
The Maryland Mutual Consent Divorce has made the process of filing and obtaining a Maryland divorce a little easier for parties who have no children. The divorce process has still very important steps that need to be handled in a swift and seamless manner. You need an experienced attorney who will advocate on your behalf and ensure that the agreement drafted for your Maryland Mutual Consent Divorce caters to your specific needs.
Contact Angel Murphy with The Murphy Law Firm, LLC today to schedule a consultation at 493-9116 or email@example.com. If you are active on social media, Like us on Facebook @AMurphyLegal, Follow us on Instagram @AMurphyLegal, and Twitter @AMurphy_Legal.
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