Maryland Divorce Law

Complete Overview of of the Maryland Divorce Laws

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Important Maryland Divorce Guidelines to File for a Divorce

Maryland Residency Requirements For Divorce

If the grounds for divorce in Maryland occurred outside of the state, there is a one year residence requirement for the filing spouse. Otherwise, to file Maryland divorce papers there is no minimum residency requirement.

Grounds For Divorce In Maryland

The no-fault grounds for divorce in Maryland are:

  • voluntarily lived separate and apart for one year without cohabitation and there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation;
  • the spouses have lived separate and apart without interruption for two years.

The following are some of the fault grounds:

  • adultery;
  • willful desertion for one year;
  • conviction of a felony.
Maryland Child Custody

Joint or sole legal and physical custody may be awarded or agreed upon. Joint legal custody retains both parents’ rights to equal decision making power concerning the children. Sole legal custody allocates the decision making power to one parents. Physical custody is awarded to the parent who will house the child. Joint physical custody requires a parenting plan to schedule the child’s time in both parent’s house.

Maryland Child Support Guidelines

Unless special circumstances are present, the courts calculate child support based on the official child support guidelines. Child support will continue until the child reaches adulthood, and may be extended through his or her secondary education.


Maryland divorce forms shall be filed in the county where the petitioner resides, or where the respondent resides.


The courts have the ability to order mediation, if disputes over the marital settlement agreement arise. Before or after the Maryland divorce papers are filed, the parties may opt for mediation to settle disputed issues, and then proceed in court on an uncontested basis.