An Absolute Divorce Formally Ends Your Marriage in Maryland
Ending a marriage can be a difficult decision, even when you know you have reached the point where you need to make this change in your life. Our absolute divorce attorneys at the Law Offices of Ellen L. Lee in Rockville, Maryland provide the support and experience you need to make smart decisions regarding absolute divorce so you can confidently proceed in determined pursuit of the right future for you and your children.
Absolute divorce completely terminates your marriage, and it is the only type of divorce available in Maryland. None of the grounds for absolute divorce in Maryland are fault-related, but any such reasons will likely remain relevant as your divorce case proceeds. Recent changes to our state’s divorce legislation effectively streamline the process, making divorce more accessible in a variety of ways.
However, these changes may also exacerbate some of the challenges for couples who are not yet sure whether they wish to fully commit to a divorce. With decades of experience guiding individuals and couples through similar circumstances, our firm is prepared to help you confidently select the right next chapters for a brighter future. Contact us today at the Law Offices of Ellen L. Lee, LLC to schedule a consultation with an absolute divorce attorney with over 35 years of experience compassionately and aggressively helping clients like you in Montgomery County, Maryland.
The Limited Divorce Option Was Repealed in Maryland in October 2023
From October 1, 2023, limited divorce is no longer granted in Maryland for new filings. Going forward, all divorces in Maryland will be absolute divorces.
The repeal of limited divorce — also often known as “separation” — means that spouses who are contemplating divorce and wish to proceed with caution no longer have an official process or a “trial basis” option before pursuing a complete divorce.
It is worth mentioning that some spouses have experienced reconciliation under these circumstances. The elimination of limited divorce and the shorter waiting period to file for divorce in Maryland may impact the possibility of reconciliation if couples choose absolute divorce. However, it can also motivate couples to carefully consider their options before making a permanent decision.
At this pivotal stage in your life, it is important to make a well-informed choice. We are here to assist you in navigating this situation, taking into account the legal implications and the dynamics of your spousal relationship. Contact us today to discuss your options available in light of the recent changes in the law.
There are Three Grounds for Absolute Divorce in Maryland — And None of Them Require Proving “Fault”
On October 1st, 2023, Maryland’s grounds for absolute divorce experienced a significant shift with the introduction of Senate Bill 36, which repealed all “fault-based” grounds for divorce and made Maryland solely a no-fault divorce state. Md. Code, Fam. Law § 7-103 outlines these legal modifications.
Due to these changes, divorce in Maryland is now based on three non-fault grounds. Divorce eligibility in the state depends on meeting any one or more of these three grounds:
- Living separately and independently for a continuous six-month period, regardless of residing in separate or shared accommodations.
- Demonstrating irreconcilable differences with your spouse, indicating an irreparable breakdown in the marital relationship.
- Reaching mutual consent with your partner through a written settlement agreement, addressing the terms and issues of the marital estate.
These changes in Maryland’s divorce regulations emphasize the importance of working alongside an experienced attorney like Ellen L. Lee. With decades of experience assisting individuals and couples facing these difficult crossroads, she will guide you in identifying and envisioning your path forward based on your unique circumstances. Our firm is fully committed to providing support throughout this transitional phase.
To schedule a consultation, contact the Law Offices of Ellen L. Lee, LLC. During this information-gathering meeting, we will address your specific concerns and goals as you consider absolute divorce in Maryland.
6 Months Living Lives that are Separate and Apart — Seek Legal Guidance If You May Aim to Meet This No-Fault Ground for Absolute Divorce in Maryland
Couples looking for a faster and more affordable divorce can find hope in Maryland’s recent amendments to divorce regulations. Instead of the previously-required period of one year living apart in separate residences, spouses now only need to spend six months living separately and apart. Furthermore, the definition of “living separately” has expanded to include couples who, despite residing in the same house or apartment, lead separate lives.
This change in language, specifically the removal of the “without cohabitation” requirement, aims to create a financially feasible and accessible path to divorce. By eliminating the need for separate residences in the months leading up to filing for divorce, couples can lighten their financial burden during what can already be a stressful time.
If you believe you and your spouse may already be living separate lives in the same residence, you may be wondering whether you are meeting all of the requirements to start counting towards a 6-month total. You need to coordinate with an experienced Maryland absolute divorce attorney who has monitored these changes and can guide you through the steps so you can avoid technicalities or other pitfalls that could lengthen or adversely affect your absolute divorce process.
At the Law Offices of Ellen L. Lee, we are here to reduce your stress and provide you focus and while making the right decisions for your future. Let’s discuss whether you should pursue this updated and more financially accessible divorce option during your consultation.
Irreconcilable Differences — An Irreparably Broken Marital Relationship is a No-Fault Ground for an Absolute Divorce in Maryland
Senate Bill 36 does not explicitly provide a precise definition for irreconcilable differences, but this concept is not unfamiliar in the context of divorce law. Generally, this phrase indicates a marital relationship that is irreparably broken.
There are several common scenarios that fall under this category, often including disputes or conflicts related to:
- Religious beliefs
- Financial matters
- Decisions involving children
- Overall disharmony within the marriage
Given that each marriage and divorce case is unique, it is wise to seek guidance from a knowledgeable divorce attorney in Maryland. Your lawyer can evaluate whether the difficulties you are facing align with Maryland’s updated grounds for divorce. It is possible that a different approach may be more suitable for your circumstances.
If your marriage is heading toward conflict and likely divorce, an attorney can assist you in exploring options that may lead to a less adversarial divorce process. We seek to help you set the foundation for healthier terms with your ex-spouse in the future, empowering you to more freely pursue the next chapters in your life.
Mutual Consent as a No-Fault Ground For Divorce in Maryland
In Maryland, couples can strive to achieve an uncontested divorce by collaborating towards settling the terms. This alternative approach aims to minimize conflict, offering a more seamless and amicable experience. By opting for divorce mediation, spouses often find it possible to reduce tensions after the divorce, as well. This process requires separate attorneys for each spouse to ensure unbiased representation.
To fulfill the requirement of mutual consent for a divorce in Maryland, both parties must work together to draft a written settlement agreement addressing various matters related to their marital estate. These matters may include:
Court approval of this agreement is required, as it forms the basis for the next phase of your life. We are prepared to guide you through each step to develop a written settlement agreement in coordination with your spouse towards satisfying the mutual consent requirement. If both spouses cannot agree on all such matters, they would need to file for divorce under either irreconcilable differences or six months living separately apart, proceeding through the process of a contested divorce.
Issues You Will Address When Seeking an Absolute Divorce in Maryland
In the event that you and your spouse find resolution through negotiation or mediation on all relevant matters, your divorce will be recognized as uncontested. However, if agreement cannot be reached, your contested divorce will require resolution through trial.
In an absolute divorce, you must resolve all pertinent issues, including:
- Division of marital assets and debts
- Custody of your child or children
- Child support payments
- Spousal support (alimony) payments
Leveraging a wealth of experience and innovative thinking, our firm handles a wide range of divorce cases, notably including those involving same-sex couples, LGBTQ couples, and military couples. Our esteemed founding divorce attorney, Ellen L. Lee, combines her extensive background in counseling, psychology, and decades of family law in Montgomery County to genuinely understand your objectives. When entrusting your case to our firm, she will meet you at your current emotional state and develop a personalized approach to aggressively advocate for your Maryland divorce interests with unwavering determination and dedication towards your bright, new beginning.
Consider Divorce Mediation to Improve Your Divorce Case Towards Mutual Consent
There are substantial potential benefits to an approach incorporating divorce mediation, even if these efforts do not achieve the complete agreement required for a mutual consent divorce filing. By reaching agreement with your spouse on these matters — even if it’s partial — you can greatly reduce stress and concentrate on resolving the remaining issues without unnecessary anxiety-inducing complexity or distractions that could otherwise threaten to overwhelm you during the steps ahead.
At the Law Offices of Ellen L. Lee, we work with you to truly understand your unique circumstances and objectives in order to devise a tailored strategic path in pursuit of your interests. We apply this deep familiarity with your goals and concerns in preparation for and throughout the divorce mediation phase, as applicable to your unique divorce case.
We take the time to fully understand your case and strive towards a brighter future for you beyond your divorce. Our well-established, and holistic tailored approach promotes your peace of mind and confidence as you navigate through the divorce process. We will assuage your worries by providing you contextual comprehension and clear direction as your partner through this journey.
Although the Fault Grounds for Divorce in Maryland Have Been Repealed, These Factors Remain Relevant To Your Case
Discuss with your divorce attorney if you have experienced any of the following factors in your spousal relationship, which can have serious implications for your Maryland absolute divorce case and your future:
- Adultery — Your spouse had extramarital sexual relations.
- Desertion — Your spouse abandoned you or forced you out of your joint residence by using physical force or threatening you or your child’s safety.
- Cruelty of Treatment — Your spouse intentionally inflicted mental abuse or emotional trauma on you or your child.
- Excessively Vicious Conduct — Your spouse was physically violent or abusive toward you or your child.
- Conviction of a Crime — Your spouse was convicted of a felony or misdemeanor and sentenced to at least three years in prison, and served at least 12 months of the sentence.
- Insanity — Licensed psychotherapists or physicians determine that your spouse is incurably insane. The spouse must have been confined to a hospital, mental institution, or another facility for at least three years.
These factors are no longer grounds for divorce, since all fault-based grounds for absolute divorce in Maryland were repealed in 2023. However, they can still affect several other facets of your divorce agreement, perhaps including property division, child custody, visitation, and/or spousal support. Speak with a knowledgeable Maryland absolute divorce attorney regarding your specific circumstances.
Schedule a Consultation with Ellen L. Lee, an Absolute Divorce Attorney in Rockville with Over 35 Years of Experience Practicing Family Law in Montgomery County, Maryland
For more than thirty years, Ellen L. Lee has dedicated herself to providing personal guidance to individuals and families navigating the challenging times they experience in divorce and related matters. By creating an inviting and accessible environment, she ensures effective communication and a shared vision for starting anew amidst family law conflicts.
We understand that you have questions about your options for divorce in Maryland. We recognize that each client is unique, and we work closely with you on a personal level to evaluate the specific details of your case to fully understand your concerns and aspirations. This approach enables us to advocate for your interests in every aspect of your divorce.
Contact us at the Law Offices of Ellen L. Lee, LLC today at (301) 279-0692(301) 279-0692 to arrange a confidential consultation with our founding divorce attorney. Alternatively, you can complete our online form. We are ready to conduct our initial information-gathering session with you in person at our boutique office in Rockville, Maryland, via video conference, or over the phone for your convenience. Our flexible scheduling includes evening and weekend appointments to accommodate your needs.
Why Choose the Law Offices of Ellen L. Lee
Ellen L. Lee has devoted over 35 years of unwavering commitment to aiding individuals and families in Montgomery County, Maryland with their family law needs. Grounded in counseling and psychology, she provides personalized guidance and assistance to her clients in an inviting atmosphere — prioritizing effective communication while forging new beginnings amidst family law disputes.
- Tenacious & Compassionate Legal Support
- Trusted Guidance that Exceeds Expectations
- Full Range of Family Law Services
- Flexible Consultation Times: Nights and Weekends are Available
- Over 35 Years of Experience Practicing Family Law in Montgomery County, Maryland
Our Founding Attorney conveniently meets with clients via phone, video conference, or in person at our office in Rockville, Maryland.