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Frequently asked questions: Filing for divorce

In this blog post, we will address some of the general questions people have about the Maryland divorce process. Please keep in mind that every divorce is unique and many of the answers to these questions will vary depending on the facts of your divorce.

Where can I file my divorce papers?

You or your spouse can file for divorce in Maryland if at least one of you has lived in Maryland for the last year or if the specific grounds for divorce happened in Maryland. You should file divorce papers in the county where you live or your spouse lives or works.

How long will it take to get a divorce?

The amount of time it takes to resolve all of the issues in your divorce will depend entirely on the facts of your divorce, as well as the ability of you and your spouse to work together. Generally, divorces with extensive marital property and children take longer than other divorces. If both parties are able to come to an agreement on all of the issues, the divorce will be much quicker than if you dispute issues and need to have multiple court hearings.

Must I be legally separated before filing for divorce?

The answer to this question depends on the grounds for the divorce. For example, a divorce based on adultery, cruelty or vicious conduct can be filed at any time after your separation. On the other hand, a divorce without grounds must be filed after one year of separation.

What are the grounds for a Maryland divorce?

Aside from no-fault divorce, which requires a separation period, Maryland allows fault-based divorce based on the following grounds: adultery, desertion for one year, criminal conviction for certain crimes leading to at least three years in prison, cruelty (inflicting or threatening bodily harm), vicious conduct and insanity that leads to at least three years in a mental institution.

What is divorce mediation?

Divorce mediation is an option that can help spouses reach an agreement on the issues involved in their divorce. Each Circuit Court in Maryland has a panel of mediators, who can meet with both parties to help determine mutually beneficial solutions.

Source: MDcourts.gov, "Frequently asked questions."

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