The state of Maryland is moving toward a change in their divorce legislation. In March of 2016, the Maryland House of Delegates passed a bill that would eliminate the requirement for witness testimony to confirm that the couple seeking an uncontested divorce has not spent a night under the same roof for at least a year. The bill will now go to the Senate, which is already planning a vote for a similar bill.
Eliminating Witness Requirement May Make Divorce Process Easier
The law as it currently stands requires only the spouse seeking a divorce to appear in court when the divorce agreement is signed by both spouses. In order to obtain an uncontested divorce, however, the person must testify that they have not spent the night in the same home as their spouse within the past year, and a witness must corroborate their testimony. The witness could be a family member, friend or, in some cases, the couple’s child. In many cases, these witnesses need to take time off of work to participate in the proceedings.
Supporters of the bill to amend this requirement say that this practice is arcane and an unnecessary hurdle for couples trying to obtain a divorce. It is a burden for those involved and puts the witness in the uncomfortable position of having to monitor a couple’s actions. Opponents of the bill worry that it will encourage couples to get divorced by making the process easier, and could enable a dominant spouse to obtain a quick divorce to the detriment of their partner. The bill passed in the House by a majority of 94-45, mostly supported by Democrats.
Bill Likely to Pass This Year
There is a similar bill currently before the Senate, proposed by State Senator Robert A. Zirkin, chairman of the Judiciary Proceedings Committee. There are some differences between the bills, which would have to be reconciled before being sent to the governor. Zirkin is confident that some version of the bill will be passed this year.
Getting a divorce is a difficult decision for couples to make, even if it is the right one. Having one less hoop to jump through will make this emotionally trying process a little less challenging for those involved. If you are considering a divorce in Maryland, an experienced divorce lawyer can help guide you through the legislative requirements to make the process as smooth as possible.
Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Provide Comprehensive, Compassionate Representation for Those Going Through Divorce in Maryland
Towson divorce lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC have the knowledge and experience to help you settle your divorce quickly and amicably while meeting all state requirements. We understand that every family is different, and we are dedicated to reaching a resolution that works for your family while protecting your interests. With offices conveniently located in Hunt Valley, Pikesville, and Towson, we help families throughout Maryland. Call us today at 443-589-0150 or contact us online for a free consultation.