Most people going through divorce in Maryland are anxious to move on with their lives. That is why clients frequently ask me first and foremost, “How long will my divorce take?” While we always try to move our clients’ cases along as quickly as feasible, every divorce is different and there can never be any guarantee about how long it will take. There are, however, some minimum timeframes as well as some general rules about how the strategy you choose can lengthen or shorten the process.
Depending on the grounds for your divorce, Maryland law may impose a certain waiting period before you can obtain an absolute divorce:
- Desertion — 12 months
- Criminal conviction — Spouse must have served at least 12 months
- Insanity — spouse must have been confined for at least three years
- Voluntary separation — 12 months
There is no waiting period for absolute divorce based on adultery, cruelty or vicious conduct. Moreover, a court may grant a limited divorce — what many other states would call a legal separation — based on other grounds prior to the prescribed waiting period.
Once you and your Maryland family law attorney file a petition for divorce, the length of the process actually depends a lot on the conduct of the parties. Negotiated and mediated divorces often go much faster than litigated divorces because they are not beholden to the court’s calendar. Typically, a divorce can be finalized within one to three months of the spouses reaching an agreement.
If spouses are unable to agree and litigation becomes necessary, getting a divorce can take much longer. Divorces can drag out unpleasantly if your spouse is not willing to work with you, so it’s important you hire a lawyer willing to go to trial when necessary. Contact the experienced Towson divorce lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC at (443) 589-0150 for a free consultation or contact us online.