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Questions You Want Answered > Grounds for Divorce > What are the grounds for divorce in Maryland?

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Maryland is one of only a handful of states that still require that the moving party have grounds for the granting of a divorce. 

The grounds for a limited divorce are:

  • Cruelty of treatment of the complaining party or a minor child of that party;
  • Excessively vicious conduct to the complaining party or a minor child of that party;
  • Desertion;
  • Voluntary Separation, if the parties are living separate and apart without cohabitation and there is no hope or expectation of a reconciliation.

The grounds for an absolute divorce are:

  • adultery, whether or not the parties are living separate and apart;
  • Cruelty of treatment of the complaining party or a minor child of that party, whether or not the parties are living separate and apart;
  • Excessively vicious conduct to the complaining party or a minor child of that party, whether or not the parties are living separate and apart;
  • desertion, if the desertion has continued for 12 months without interruption, and there is no hope or expectation of a reconciliation;
  • Voluntary Separation, if the parties have lived separate and apart without cohabitation for 12 months without cohabitation, and there is no hope or expectation of a reconciliation;
  • Conviction of a felony or misdemeanor  and the defendant has been sentenced to serve at least 3 years or an indeterminate sentence at a penal institution and has served 12 months of that sentence;
  • Insanity, if the insane spouse has been confined to a mental institution for at least 3 years, the court determines from testimony of at least two psychiatrists that the insanity is incurable, without hope of recovery and one of the parties has been a resident of Maryland for at least 2 years;
  • One year separation without interruption or cohabitation.
  • Mutual Consent for people who have no minor children, who mutually consent to the divorce, and who have an executed agreement resolving all of their issues, whether or not they are living separate and apart.
  • Commencing October 1, 2018, all people, including those with minor children, who have an executed agreement resolving all of their issues, and who mutually consent to the divorce, may apply for and obtain a divorce without a period of living separate and apart.

Last updated on August 25, 2018 by Karen Robbins, Attorney at Law