The Maryland Senate has passed a bill allowing parents with young children to file for mutual consent divorce. As of 2015, the law entitled only childless couples or those with adult children to bypass a one-year separation before divorcing. However, this right is now extended to couples with young children, providing there is a mutual, final agreement regarding child custody, property, finances, and child visitation schedules.
Maryland One -Year Separation
Until recently, all couples were required to separate for one year before filing for divorce. For couples who were more than ready to move on with their lives, this created frustrating, unnecessary delays. Additionally, the timeclock on the one-year separation only began when one spouse moved out of the house or the couples maintained separate residences. However, one night spent under the same roof started over the one-year count.
This can be very problematic for spouses who have children and implies that families must have the economic resources available to maintain two households immediately if they wish to divorce in a reasonable amount of time. It is much more common for divorcing couples to live separately under the same roof until they are financially able to maintain two homes.
In fact, a current divorce trend, called nesting, occurs when parents try to lessen the emotional impact of divorce on their children. During a divorce, nesting allows children to remain in the family home while the parents take turns moving in and out. Although this can cause complications regarding property settlement, in Maryland, the parties may not be deemed separated if they are nesting.
Benefits for Divorcing Couples with Children
The change in the law means that couples with children will be able to forego the one-year separation period just like other couples without minor children. Although some opponents of the change feel that the state should not make it easier for families to divorce, those in support of the change disagree. The law encourages couples to work things out amicably instead of having to endure a lengthy process that seems to inevitably result in contentious relations.
Additionally, there may be benefits for the children involved. In fact, reports indicate that divorce itself does not affect children in a negative way, but extreme anxiety, stress, and depression can result from quarreling parents and fear of the unknown. Bypassing the one-year separation requirement allows families to begin their new lives sooner, possibly eliminating the psychological consequences associated with a long drawn out divorce for children.
Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Advocate for Clients Seeking a Mutual Consent Divorce
If you are considering a divorce or have questions about how your divorce may affect your children, contact an experienced Towson divorce lawyer at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC. Call us today at 443-589-0150 or submit an online inquiry form for a free consultation.
Our offices are conveniently located in Towson and Hunt Valley, Maryland to serve clients throughout the state, including the communities of Cockeysville, Lutherville Timonium, Upper Falls, Phoenix, Riderwood, Sparks Glencoe, Brooklandville, Butler, Stevenson, Glyndon, Monkton, Reisterstown, Pikesville, Owings Mills, Parkville, Boring, Glen Arm, Baldwin, Upperco, and Hyde.