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A New Way out Of Marriage in Maryland: Mutual Consent Divorce

Law Office of Kari Holm Fawcett

In a recent law that was enacted in Maryland, couples seeking to dissolve their marriage now have a quicker option: mutual consent divorce. Under the terms of this amendment, couples have an easier way of divorcing amicably without extended waiting periods.

Under the previous law, divorce could be a fast process for marriages in which one spouse committed serious offenses—such as adultery, cruel treatment, or excessively vicious conduct—against their partner. Understandably, the court determined that a spouse in a potentially dangerous partnership should be able to dissolve their marriage as quickly as possible.

However, under less egregious circumstances—in situations where couples simply grew apart, for example—the law required them to spend a full year living in separate residences before they could legally begin the process of moving on with their lives. Under the new law, a couple doesn’t have to be separated for any amount of time before they can file for divorce.

The Practical Benefits

Allowing couples to cohabitate while they sort out their respective futures has certain practical benefits. They have the chance to iron out economic issues that will result from their anticipated separation. This extra leeway could help them in answering other important questions in planning for their futures. For instance, many divorcing couples don’t know whether they’ll need to sell their marital home until they each understand what their financial circumstances will be following the divorce. Being forced into a one-year separation prior to divorce could force them into making rash economic decisions.

No Available for Everyone

There are a few requirements that make a couple eligible for mutual consent divorce. One of these is that the couple seeking divorce must not have any minor children. So for couples with young children, divorce is not so easy under Maryland law. However, the passing of the mutual consent legislation is an important first step in simplifying the divorce process.