In the United States, we have what are called “no-fault” divorce states and “mixed states,” which grant fault-based divorces and no-fault divorces. Maryland is a mixed state because it grants no-fault and fault-based divorces. If a spouse wanted to file a fault-based divorce in Maryland, he or she would file for divorce on one of the following grounds:
- Actual desertion;
- Constructive desertion;
- A criminal conviction for a misdemeanor or felony; or
- Cruelty or excessively vicious conduct against you or your children.
Your marriage may have broken down for a fault-based ground listed above, however, that does not mean that you have to file a fault-based divorce. If you do list one of the above grounds in your divorce petition, things could get unpleasant with your spouse, and one of the best ways to reduce the stress in a divorce and the feeling of losing control is to have an amicable divorce.
If you have been separated for at least 12 months, you can choose the separation option. Essentially, if you select the 12-month separation option on the Complaint, you are stating that you have lived separate and apart from each other in different homes continuously, without sexual intercourse, for at least 12 months.
No-Fault Divorce (Mutual Consent)
If you both agree on the divorce, you can select the option of a “mutual consent” divorce, which does not require either spouse to point the finger at the other for the breakdown of the marriage. When you select this option, you are saying that you and your spouse have a written settlement agreement that resolves all of your divorce-related issues pertaining to:
- Property division
- Child custody
- Child support
“Why do couples choose the mutual consent divorce over the 12-month separation option?” Because, if a couple chooses to have a mutual consent divorce, they do not have to abide by the 12-month separation period. A lot of our clients choose to have a no-fault, mutual consent divorce so they don’t have to wait 12 months to file for divorce.
Next: Is Alimony Guaranteed in Maryland Divorce Cases?
To learn more about no-fault divorce in Annapolis, we invite you to contact the Law Office of Nicholas T. Exarhakis today.