Maryland Divorce Laws

If you are going to apply for divorce, you should know that every dissolution of marriage within the state is guided by Maryland divorce laws. For many couples, dissolutionment of marriage turns out to be not only expensive and stressful but also a confusing process because some divorce laws in Maryland can be difficult to understand.

Steps to divorce in Maryland include meeting residency requirements, preparing dissolution of marriage forms, serving the defendant, and others. To pass them successfully, you will need at least basic knowledge of divorce laws in Maryland, which will be discussed in this article.

If you find it challenging to prepare for an uncontested divorce on your but do not want to involve a lawyer, you can contact our online service for help. With us, you will be able to complete the papers for your uncontested dissolution of marriage quickly and without extra effort and get detailed instructions on the filing process.

Maryland Divorce Requirements

According to MD divorce laws, before filing for dissolution of marriage, spouses need to take certain actions and follow some legal requirements. Failure to comply with them can negatively affect the duration and complexity of your case.

Before initiating the divorce process, make sure to:

  1. Determine which reason for divorce you will indicate in the Complaint for Absolute Divorce. There are 3 legal grounds for terminating a marriage, as defined by Maryland divorce laws.
  2. Discuss how you and your spouse will divide marital property and custody of minor children after the divorce. It is necessary to understand whether you have a contested or uncontested dissolution of marriage and whether you need to involve a lawyer or a mediator.
  3. Prepare information about bank accounts, tax returns, and joint and separate property that you own. You will most likely need to fill out a Financial Affidavit, based on which the court will calculate spousal support and child maintenance or resolve property division issues, if any.
  4. Collect your children’s personal, medical, and educational documents. During your dissolutionment of marriage, a judge will review them to decide on child custody, visitation, and maintenance based on the kids’ best interests.
  5. Complete a set of dissolution of marriage forms. Preparing divorce documents is a basic Maryland divorce requirement. Their list depends on case-specific circumstances and usually includes the Complaint, Financial Affidavit, Marital Settlement Agreement, Parenting Plan, if minor children are involved, etc.

Divorce laws in MD clearly define residency requirements, grounds for divorce, and the deadline for returning one’s former name. Their non-fulfillment may result in the postponement of your case or other legal complications.

What Are the Divorce Laws in Maryland?

If you are interested in “What are the divorce laws in Maryland?” then the answer to this question will be MD Code, Family Law, T.7. Its sections cover all requirements and rules regarding dissolutionment of marriage within the state no matter what type of case you have.

Here are the main excerpts of divorce laws in Maryland that you need to learn before starting a process:

  1. To initiate the divorce case with the clerk’s office or through e-filing, you or your spouse must reside in the state. There is no specified period of residency if the ground for dissolution of marriage arose in Maryland. If it happened outside the state, you or the other party must have lived in Maryland for at least 6 months before filing (MD Code, Family Law, § 7-101).
  2. Maryland divorce laws recognize 3 reasons for divorce. They can be mutual consent, 6 months of separation, and irreconcilable differences between spouses (MD Code, Family Law, § 7-103).
  3. If you have an uncontested dissolution of marriage and are filing by mutual consent, you must enter into a Settlement Agreement regarding the divorce terms (MD Code, Family Law, § 7-103 (3)). It must be submitted to the clerk’s office with other dissolution of marriage forms.
  4. According to Maryland divorce laws, separation based on a court order or living apart in the same house without cohabitation as a married couple is also recognized as grounds for divorce if it lasts over half a year (MD Code, Family Law, § 7-103(b)).
  5. The court can order you and your spouse to attend an educational seminar together or apart if you have minor children and need to determine their custody and maintenance during the divorce (MD Code, Family Law, § 7-103.2).
  6. Divorce laws in Maryland allow either spouse to return to their former name during an absolute marriage dissolution or within 18 months after the judge issues a Divorce Decree (MD Code, Family Law, § 7-105).

Maryland divorce laws do not provide for a simplified procedure for an agreed-upon divorce but give you an option to choose the most suitable ground for your case.

Divorce Laws in Maryland for Infidelity

After the recent changes in divorce laws in Maryland from October 1, 2023, infidelity is no longer an official ground for divorce within the state. Since Maryland does not recognize fault-based reasons for dissolution of marriage, there are currently no specific divorce laws in Maryland for infidelity.

Maryland divorce laws provide only 3 grounds for terminating marital relations, no matter whether you have contested or uncontested dissolution of marriage. Even if your spouse was unfaithful during your marital life and engaged in extramarital affairs, you cannot indicate it in a Complaint as the legal basis for dissolutionment of marriage.

However, if the other party spent your joint funds on the affair, and you can prove this fact, or if infidelity negatively affected children, you can inform the court about it. Although divorce laws in Maryland do not provide punishment for adultery, the judge may take it into account when dividing property or awarding alimony if you have enough evidence of your spouse’s infidelity. Still, there is no guarantee that it will affect the result of your divorce in any way.


The primary law that defines the rules and requirements for the divorce process in the state is the Maryland Code on Family Law (Title 7).

Maryland is a no-fault divorce state, so you can only get a marriage dissolution based on irreconcilable differences, mutual consent, or separation for 6 months or more.

Marital property of spouses is divided according to the principle of equitable distribution, which does not always mean a 50/50 division.

If the basis of your divorce is living apart, the separation must last at least 6 months. No mandatory separation period is required if you apply for marriage dissolution based on the other grounds.

You can get an annulment within the state only for some specific reasons, such as bigamy, entry into marriage under duress, incapacity of one of the parties, and a close blood relationship between spouses.