Maryland Divorce FAQs:

Steps To File Your Own Divorce:

Step 1: Download our free online divorce forms kit.

Step 2: The person who is deciding to file for divorce must complete all of the required divorce forms. The finished divorce papers must then be filed with the family court in the state where you reside. You can get divorced in a state other than the state you were married in as long as you meet the residency requirements for the state where you are going to file your divorce. You will also be required to pay a filing fee for your complete divorce forms. The fee to file for divorce varies from state to state. Check with your local family court to get the exact cost to file for divorce in your state.

Step 3: The spouce that files for divorce must notify the other spouse that you have filed for divorce by using the divorce forms included in our download.

Step 4: You and your spouse should outline in your divorce settlement agreement the terms you have agreed upon and set forth for one another such as child custody and support, property and asset division, spousal support, etc.

Step 5: After you have completed all of the required divorce forms and have filed them in divorce court, the court will review your divorce documents and issue you a final decree of divorce.

The courts in Maryland will grant an absolute divorce on the following grounds:

1. Adultery; 2. Deliberate desertion for one year with no reasonable expectation of reconciliation; 3. Voluntarily living separate and apart without cohabitation for one year with no reasonable expectation of reconciliation; 4. Conviction of a felony; 5. Living separate and apart for two years without cohabitation; 6. Insanity of one of the parties; 7. Excessive cruelty or vicious conduct. ACM 7-103

Residency requirements If the grounds for divorce occurred outside of the State of Maryland, at least one of the parties to the divorce must have resided in Maryland for at least one year immediately prior to the filing of the action. AMC 7-101

name of court and title of action/parties An action for divorce filed in the State of Maryland is filed in the Circuit Court. The title of the action initiating the divorce is a Bill for Divorce, while the title of the action granting the divorce is referred to as the Decree of Divorce. The party who initiates the action for divorce is referred to as the Plaintiff, while the other party to the action is referred to as the Defendant.

Legal separation Legal separation in Maryland is referred to as a Limited Divorce. The courts will grant a judgment of Limited Divorce for the following reasons: 1. Cruelty of treatment or excessively vicious conduct; 2. Desertion; 3. Voluntarily living separate and apart with no reasonable prospect of reconciliation.

The parties may be required to participate in good faith in reconciliation efforts prescribed by the court. ACM 7-102

Mediation Mediation may be required by the court when a limited divorce is sought. Additionally, if custody is a disputed issue, the court may also require mediation. ACM 7-102

Alimony Alimony may be awarded to either spouse. In making a determination as to the amount and period of alimony, the court may consider the following factors:

1. The ability of the party seeking alimony to be wholly or partly self-supporting; 2. The time necessary for the party seeking alimony to gain sufficient knowledge or training to find suitable employment; 3. The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage; 4. The duration of the marriage; 5. The contributions of each party to the well-being of the family; 6. The circumstances of the demise of the relationship; 7. The age, physical and mental condition of each party; 8. Any agreement between the parties; 9. The financial needs and resources of the parties; 10. Any other relevant factor. ACM 11-106

Distribution of property Maryland is an equitable distribution state in which the court will divide the marital property between the parties as the court deems equitable and just, after setting aside to each spouse that party's separate property. Factors the court will consider in distributing the marital property between the parties include: 1. The contribution of each party to the family's well-being; 2. The value of each party's property interests; 3. The economic circumstances of each party; 4. The duration of the marriage; 5. The age, physical and mental condition of each party; 6. Any other factor the court deems relevant and just.ACM 8-205

Child Custody The court will determine the issue of custody based upon the best interests of the child. ACM 8-207

Child support Maryland has enacted child support guidelines which establish the presumptive correct amount of child support. This presumption may be rebutted by evidence that the application of the guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate under the circumstances. If the court determines that application of the guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate, the court shall make a written finding on the record stating the reasons for deviating from the guidelines and stating what the amount would have been under the guidelines. ACM 12-202

name change The court upon the granting of a divorce may change the name of a party to that party's former or maiden name so long as the reason the party is seeking the name change is not illegal, fraudulent, or immoral. ACM 7-105.