We Assist Individuals and Couples Seeking Same-Sex Divorce in Maryland
Divorce can bring disillusionment and many changes to someone’s life, but it can also signify new beginnings. Anticipating these changes and retaining a sound perspective during this time to maintain control over your life’s trajectory is vital. You need strong guidance to navigate conflicts and pursue your interests under the law while your spouse pursues theirs. In Maryland, same-sex couples have had the right to marry since Jan. 1, 2013, following the Civil Marriage Protection Act. Even before Maryland began granting marriage licenses to gay couples, the Court of Appeals had ruled that the state would allow same-sex divorce in Maryland to couples who were legally married in other states.
Divorce and other legal issues relating to LGBTQ families require an experienced attorney who understands the needs of her clients. With more than 35 years representing all types of families, the Law Offices of Ellen L. Lee is prepared to handle your same-sex divorce case.
Maryland’s Updated Grounds for Same-Sex Divorce
The grounds for all divorces in Maryland changed on October 1st, 2023, when Senate Bill 36 went into effect to modify Md. Code, Fam. Law § 7-103.
There are now only three grounds for divorce in Maryland — none of which are fault-based. You may file for same-sex divorce in Maryland if you satisfy any of these three grounds:
- You have lived apart and separately without interruption for 6 months — Whether you have lived in separate residences or within the same residence, by living separate lives for 6 months you can qualify to file for divorce in Maryland.
- You and your spouse have irreconcilable differences — This means the marital relationship is broken and cannot be repaired.
- Mutual Consent — This involves a written settlement agreement in which both parties agree upon the terms and marital estate issues.
The New Grounds For Divorce Allow for Divorces in Half the Time, With Fewer Residential Expenses
The previous 12-month requirement has been modified to require Maryland’s same-sex spouses to spend only 6 months living separately and apart, and this has also been redefined to include spouses who live in the same home but live separate lives.
Specifically, the “without cohabitation” phrasing was removed from the language of Md. Code, Fam. Law § 7-103. This should serve to make the path to divorce more financially feasible and accessible, as the spouses will not have to be able to afford to pay for separate residences in the months leading up to filing for divorce.
Recent Changes to Maryland’s Laws Make All Same-Sex Divorces Permanent
Consequently, spouses who are considering divorce but may not be sure about taking such a serious and final step no longer have a formal process or “trial basis” status short of pursuing a full divorce. Some spouses under these circumstances tend to reconcile.
The repeal of limited divorce and the shorter wait to file for divorce in Maryland can effectively prevent reconciliation if spouses choose absolute divorce — or it may cause couples to be less hasty when making what would be a permanent decision. Each divorce decision is different, and we are here to help you make the right one for your future.
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Fault Remains Relevant Even Though the Fault-Based Grounds for Same-Sex Divorce in Maryland Have Been Repealed
Despite the removal of these fault-based grounds for same-sex divorce in Maryland, these factors may still play an important part in your divorce case and its aftermath:
- Constructive desertion
- Criminal conviction and sentencing
- Cruelty or vicious physical, verbal or emotional conduct
Address any of these issues that are applicable to your case with your divorce lawyer to identify how they may affect concerns such as alimony, child support, child custody, and property distribution.
Understand The Value of Experience in Your Maryland Same-Sex Divorce Case
The implications of these overhauling changes to Maryland’s divorce laws underscore the importance of working closely with an experienced attorney like Ellen L. Lee, who has spent decades counseling and guiding individuals and couples facing similar situations — helping them to choose the right paths for their unique circumstances. Our firm is here to help you navigate these changes in your life.
Contact us today at the Law Offices of Ellen L. Lee, LLC to schedule a consultation, where we will discuss your unique concerns and goals as you consider a same-sex divorce in Maryland.
Types of Disagreements that Qualify as Irreconcilable Differences When Seeking a Same-Sex Divorce in Maryland
Senate Bill 36 does not specify the exact meaning of irreconcilable differences, but it is not a novel concept in divorce law. The phrase has generally been interpreted to mean the marital relationship among the spouses is broken and cannot be repaired.
Some common examples of these types of circumstances may include disagreements or other conflicts involving the following:
- Religious beliefs
- Financial matters
- Choosing whether to have children
- Choosing how to raise children
- General discord in the marital relationship
As every spousal relationship and divorce case is different, you should speak with an experienced Maryland same-sex divorce lawyer to discuss whether the circumstances of marital discord you are experiencing would satisfy Maryland’s updated grounds for divorce. Another approach may be more appropriate for your situation, and if marital conflict is leading you down this path, your divorce attorney may help you explore options that could lead to a less adversarial divorce experience, in turn setting the stage for better terms with your ex-spouse in the future.
Issues To Address in a Written Settlement Agreement to Satisfy the Mutual Consent Ground for Same-Sex Divorce in Maryland
Same-sex spouses in Maryland may be able to achieve an uncontested divorce through collaboration on the terms of their divorce. This can be a much less adversarial experience, and you may be able to lessen the conflict both in your divorce proceedings and thereafter through divorce mediation, in which each spouse would need their own attorney to avoid conflict of interest.
In order to meet the Mutual Consent ground for a Maryland same-sex divorce, both parties must contribute to a written settlement agreement to resolve various concerns and implications of the divorce. The following marital estate issues may be among those concerns:
- Spousal Support (Alimony)
- Monetary Award
- Marital Property Distribution
- Child Custody
- Child Support
- Child Care and Access
The court will need to approve your written agreement. In many same-sex divorce cases, mutual consent is a way to minimize conflict as you set the stage for the next chapter of your life. At the Law Offices of Ellen L. Lee, we take great care to understand the unique details of your case in the context of your goals and concerns, and we will work with you to seek a brighter future on the other side of your divorce case.
Reaching even some degree of agreement with your spouse regarding these concerns can lead to a less stressful divorce case, bringing the remaining issues into greater focus without additional complexity and unnecessary distractions. This can translate to greater peace of mind throughout the experience and greater confidence as you move forward in pursuit of your interests.
Because we work with people in similar situations to yours every day, we know that highlighting and clarifying the issues and answering your questions can make a huge difference in your outlook. We will assess the extent to which this approach may benefit you and your case, even if you do not reach the total agreement required to meet the filing ground of mutual consent.
Issues Facing Your Same-Sex Divorce in Maryland
Ever since Maryland recognized same-sex marriage, lesbian and gay couples have been treated the same as everyone else under Maryland’s divorce laws. Gay divorce resolves the same legal issues as other divorces.
We will work with you to address the following issues in your same-sex divorce case:
- Distribution of Marital Property
- Spousal Support
- Child Support
- Child Custody
- Financial Dissipation Analysis (as applicable)
At the Law Offices of Ellen L. Lee, we know how to help LGBT clients navigate these and other same-sex divorce obstacles.
Talk To a Compassionate Maryland Same-Sex Divorce Attorney in Montgomery County
Ellen L. Lee has served the family law needs of individuals and families in Montgomery County, Maryland for over 35 years. Also drawing upon her background in counseling and psychology, she is prepared to personally guide you through what can be a difficult time. Her approachable style effectively builds shared understanding of your goals, informing her efforts on your behalf to set the stage for your new beginning.
If you and your partner are seeking a same-sex divorce in Maryland or need help with some other gay-and lesbian-specific family law issue, call the Law Offices of Ellen L. Lee today at (301) 279-0692(301) 279-0692 to schedule a consultation where we will address your unique situation and goals. Alternatively, contact us online, and we will follow up with you soon to confirm your consultation.
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.