Starting October 1, 2023, some significant changes are coming to how people can get divorced in Maryland.
If you want to get a divorce in Maryland currently, you need to give a reason, or in legal terms, “have grounds.” Some grounds blame one person for the divorce, like cheating, abandonment, cruelty, a lengthy jail sentence, or mental illness. In other words, you had to find the other person was at fault. “No-fault grounds,” on the other hand, don’t blame anyone and include being separated for 12 months or both parties agreeing to the divorce (as long as everything has been sorted out in writing).
With the new law, the whole process will get a lot simpler. First, there will be no more ‘limited’ divorce, and all those fault grounds are going away. Instead, starting on October 1, 2023, you can get a divorce for three simple reasons: living separately for six months, having irreconcilable differences, or agreeing on a divorce in writing.
And here’s something interesting about the six-month separation rule. You don’t have to move out and live in different places. As long as you’re leading separate lives (even in the same house), that’s enough. The exact meaning of ‘leading separate lives’ is a bit fuzzy in Maryland, but in other jurisdictions, it means not sharing a bed or meals together.
Opinions may vary on these changes, but one thing is clear: starting October 1st, getting a divorce in Maryland will likely be quicker and simpler.