Towson Divorce Lawyers
Timeline for Divorce in Maryland
Couples deciding to divorce in Maryland may be pleased to learn that a new law passed in October of 2015 that makes it quicker than ever to finalize a no fault divorce. A married couple can file for a mutual consent no-fault divorce without having to wait a mandatory 12 month separation period as long as they do not have common minor children. The new legislation allows couples to continue to live together while they work out the details of the divorce, such as the division of property and marital assets as well as living arrangements once the couple has been officially divorced.
Maryland No Fault Mutual Consent Divorce
There are four requirements to qualify for a Maryland no fault, mutual consent divorce. First and foremost, the couple cannot have minor children in common such as natural born or adopted children. The couple must have a legal contract, signed by both parties, that clearly outlines the stipulations of alimony and property settlements. Both parties must agree to submit their written settlement agreements to the court and the couple must appear together at the divorce hearing.
What makes the mutual consent divorce unique is its lack of a requirement for the couple to live separately for at least 12 months before they can file for their divorce. In the past, Maryland law required couples to remain in separate residences for the entire 12 month period of separation. If the couple were to spend even one night in the same house together, the 12 month period would start over from that day. By eliminating this requirement, legislators hope that more couples will work to reach mutual agreement on alimony and property issues to avoid the long wait.
Moving on Quicker and with Less Stress
Lawmakers in favor of the new mutual consent divorce are happy to see that couples without children that have agreed to divorce can do so without the stress of a long waiting period. Often times, couples that decide to divorce have already gone through long periods of discernment and possibly counseling before making the final decision to end the marital union. Eliminating the 12 month separation requirement from the divorce process in Maryland will help couples to move on more quickly and with less emotional stress.
There are also financial benefits to this new divorce process. Having to live separately for 12 months prior to filing for a divorce can present a significant financial burden on the couple. It may be financially impossible for some couples to separate and maintain two different residences for a year. Before the new law passed, these couples had to find a way for one of the spouses to take up residence with family, friends or relatives if they couldn’t rent or buy another property. Many times in the divorce settlement, couples can continue to live separately in the same house while they work through the details of their divorce. Some find it easy to share the marital home with separate bedrooms while others elect to move to another area of the house altogether.
For now, couples with minor children are ineligible for the no fault mutual consent divorce in Maryland, even if they can mutually agree on child custody and child support issues. Even though the 12 month separation period applies to these couples, legislators are encouraged with progress being made. Most agree that the new law gives hope that one day soon the benefits can extend to those with children. Until then, married partners with minor children must be separated and living apart for the full year before they can file for a divorce in Maryland.
Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, L.L.C. Represent Clients in all Areas of Divorce and Family Law
If you or someone you know is considering getting a divorce in Maryland, the experienced Towson divorce lawyers at Huesman, Jones, & Miles, L.L.C. can help. Our team is committed to helping clients navigate through the divorce process with the least amount of stress and time possible. Call us at 443-589-0150 or complete our online contact form to schedule a consultation today. Our offices are located in Hunt Valley, Pikesville and Towson, Maryland and we serve clients throughout Baltimore County, Harford County and Howard County, as well as the townships of Towson, Bel Air, Columbia, Westminster and Essex.