Divorce Process in Maryland: What to Expect?

The process of divorce in Maryland has its specifics, so before you start the procedure for divorce, you should get acquainted with the main divorce steps that you will need to go through.

Before submitting papers to the clerk’s office or e-filing for the online divorce process, you need to consider the reasons for your marriage dissolution, the type of case, and many other factors. If you do not know much about the process of divorce and need some more information to learn about the Maryland divorce process, this article will present it to you.

We will answer the question, “What is the process of divorce within the state?” and analyze the divorce process in Maryland in detail.    

How to Start a Divorce Process in Maryland?

To start a divorce process, you should be prepared emotionally and equip yourself with everything necessary. It means that before you initiate the Maryland divorce process, you need to complete the paperwork, learn the general divorce steps, and fulfill the basic requirements.

Starting the divorce process, you must:

  1. Make sure you have been a resident of the state long enough to file for divorce. If the reason for your marriage dissolution arose in the state, there is no specified period. However, if it emerged outside Maryland, one of the parties must have lived here for at least 6 months before filing.
  2. State the reason for terminating your marital relations. The procedure for divorce at the stage of document preparation may differ slightly due to the grounds for marriage dissolution.
  3. Determine what papers you need to file in court. Their list may vary depending on whether the case is contested or whether you have joint property and minor children.
  4. Choose the method of submitting documents. If you decide to file for an online divorce process through the e-filing system, make sure that this option is available in your county.
  5. Collect information about your financial situation. You will need it during the divorce process in MD when you divide marital property, determine the amount of child maintenance or spousal support, or ask for a fee waiver.
  6. Familiarize yourself with the main sections of the MD Code Family Law. In it, you can find all the requirements of the current legislation regarding the process of divorce within the state.
  7. Try to remember when you and your spouse stopped living as husband and wife or started residing separately. This information is important if you are interested in how to start a divorce process in Maryland based on a 6-month separation.

If you have met the residency requirements and are preparing for divorce, the next question you will need an answer to is, “What is the process of divorce?”

Step-by-Step Divorce Process in Maryland

Although the divorce process in Maryland is rather standard in all cases, the presence or absence of disputes between spouses regarding marriage termination issues may affect its duration or complexity.

Here are the main divorce steps you should follow during the process of divorce in Maryland:

1. Preparation of documents

In most cases, you will need a Complaint for Absolute Divorce, a Financial Statement, and a Marital Settlement Agreement. If you have minor children, you should also complete the Maryland Parenting Plan Tool. The final set of papers to file with the court will vary depending on your case-specific circumstances.

2. Filing for divorce

To start a lawsuit, submit a prepared set of papers to the county clerk's office or file for an online divorce process. When submitting the documents, pay the mandatory court fee of $165. If your financial situation is difficult, complete the Request for Waiver of Prepaid Costs to receive an exemption from its payment.

3. Serving the respondent

One of the obligatory steps in the Maryland divorce process is informing the other spouse about the case initiation. You cannot do it yourself, so you must delegate the delivery of necessary papers to a sheriff or a private process server. You may also ask another person over 18 who is not a party to the case to serve the defendant in person or by certified mail.

4. Submission of the proof of service to the court

After serving the respondent, your process server must complete the Affidavit of Service. If the sheriff delivers the documents, they will be filed with the court by the sheriff's office. If the paperwork was handed by a private process server or another person, you have to submit the Affidavit yourself.

5. Receiving a response or counterclaim

Respondents have 30 days to answer if served in Maryland, 60 days if in another state, and 90 days if in another country. After the response is provided, you can proceed to the final step of marriage dissolution. What is the process of divorce if the defendant violates the deadline and does not respond? Then, you can file a Request for Order of Default.

6. Scheduling a court hearing

You may need to appear at one or more trials before you get a Divorce Decree and finalize the process of divorce. It depends on whether there are disputes between you and your spouse that still need to be resolved.

An uncontested divorce process in Maryland is usually less time-consuming and stressful. If you intend to file for marriage dissolution by mutual consent, you will need to go through a slightly different procedure for divorce.

Mutual Divorce Process in Maryland

There is no specific procedure for a mutual divorce process in Maryland. However, if you start an offline or online divorce process by mutual consent, you can reduce the time it takes to obtain a Divorce Decree. Starting an agreed-upon, uncontested divorce process in Maryland means solving child-related and property division issues on your own and concluding a Marital Settlement Agreement.

Your divorce steps will be as follows:

1. Preparing papers

for a mutual process of divorce in Maryland. You will need a Complaint for Absolute Divorce, a Marital Settlement Agreement, and other documents, depending on the circumstances, such as a Parenting Plan and a Financial Statement.

2. Submitting papers

to the court. To start the procedure for divorce, you need to file all the prepared papers and the Agreement with the clerk's office.

3. Serving the other party

Even if your process of divorce is uncontested, you still need to serve the defendant and submit confirmation to the court.

4. Finalizing

the divorce process in Maryland. After your spouse receives the papers and responds, you will need to schedule and attend a court hearing to obtain a formal marriage dissolution.

What is the process of divorce if it is uncontested? It resembles a traditional procedure, but due to the absence of disputes and the presence of a Marital Settlement Agreement, it is less expensive, complicated, and lengthy.    


The process of divorce in Maryland consists of several stages: preparing and filing papers, serving the defendant, submitting an Affidavit, receiving an answer, and attending a court hearing.

To begin the divorce process in Maryland, you must determine what documents you need to file with the court, fill them out, and submit them to the county clerk’s office or online.