Grounds for Divorce in Maryland

To get an absolute dissolution of marriage within the state, you must name one of the grounds for divorce in Maryland. Before you start preparing for the process, you should learn more about the main reasons for divorce and determine the top reason for divorce in your case because the set of documents you need for filing in court may sometimes depend on it. So, what are the grounds for divorce that you can specify in the Complaint?

To inform you about the grounds for divorce in Maryland, we analyzed the most common reasons for divorce recognized by current legislation.

Legal Grounds for Divorce in Maryland

According to MD Code §7-103, there are 3 legal grounds for divorce in Maryland. When filing for dissolution of marriage, you need to indicate one of the legal reasons for divorce in the Complaint for Absolute Divorce.

Here are the grounds for immediate divorce in Maryland recognized by the law:

  1. Mutual consent. It is one of the grounds for divorce in an uncontested case. If parties can decide on all the terms independently and conclude a Marital Settlement Agreement, they can use it as the basis for their marriage dissolution. Before they submit a Complaint for Absolute Divorce to the clerk’s office, they need to decide on joint property division, child maintenance and custody, and alimony and specify these arrangements in the agreement.
  2. Separation for more than half a year. It doesn’t matter whether you decide to stop cohabitation due to conflicts but still stay in the same house or get a court order to separate from the other spouse.
  3. Irreconcilable differences. One of the grounds for immediate divorce in Maryland is the differences between the spouses that lead to the breakdown of their marriage.

To file for marriage dissolution due to one of the legal grounds for divorce, you or your spouse must be a state resident. If the cause of your divorce arose outside the state, one of you must have resided in Maryland for at least 6 months.

Mixed Divorce State

Since October 1, 2023, in Maryland, grounds for divorce can be only no-fault. It means that parties do not need to prove each other’s fault to file for dissolution of marriage.

Maryland was a mixed divorce state, allowing couples to dissolve their union on fault-based and no-fault grounds before the recent legal changes. Now, spouses who have no disputes over marriage termination issues more often choose mutual consent as the most common reason for divorce.

Even if there are disagreements between parties, they can avoid looking for the biggest reasons for divorce and file with the court 6 months after deciding to live separately. However, they should inform the judge when their residing apart began in the Complaint.

Since you can only divorce on no-fault grounds, you no longer have to look for evidence to prove in court that your spouse’s behavior led to the breakdown of your marriage.

No-Fault Divorce in Maryland

The current legislation does not recognize fault-based grounds for marriage dissolution anymore. So, is Maryland a no-fault state for divorce? Yes, it is.

No-fault divorce in Maryland eliminates the need to blame each other for wrongdoing, hire a detective, or involve witnesses to prove one’s guilt in court. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you can indicate one or several common reasons for divorce in your Complaint.

Most often, the basis for an uncontested no-fault divorce is the mutual consent of parties when they resolve child-related and property division issues themselves.

If your case is uncontested and you are submitting paperwork for a Maryland no-fault divorce, then

  1. You can agree with your spouse over child custody, maintenance, visitation, and spousal support issues yourself, preventing any unexpected outcomes after the process is finalized.
  2. You can avoid hiring lawyers, therefore significantly reducing your expenses. The actual lawyers’ hourly rate varies from $170 to $350 in the state.
  3. You do not need to depend on attorneys’ schedules or workload. You can file with the court as soon as you prepare the required documents.
  4. You can use an online document preparation service to complete the paperwork for divorce in a few days. You don’t need to spend time searching for the necessary and relevant forms yourself.
  5. You do not need to participate in long court battles that may provoke new conflicts and worsen the emotional state of your children, if any.

In addition, the absence of a fault-based reason will help you preserve friendly relations with your future ex. It will allow you to get along better after the divorce when you will need to cooperate and raise children together.

Religious Reasons for Divorce in Maryland

There are no religious reasons for divorce in Maryland one can use to file for absolute marriage dissolution. The only grounds for divorce within the state are separation for 6 months or more, mutual consent, and irreconcilable differences.

What are biblical grounds for divorce the church accepts? Although state law does not recognize any biblical reason for divorce, some grounds based on fault can be considered religious since one of the spouses violated biblical commandments or caused physical or emotional suffering to the other. Their list can include desertion, emotional or physical abuse, adultery, committing a crime, etc.

Since these reasons for divorce are no longer recognized by the family court in Maryland, parties may indicate only no-fault grounds when initiating the marriage dissolution case.

What are the grounds for divorce you can specify in a Complaint if you are a deeply religious person? A religious minister can help you answer this question after learning your case’s circumstances.

When two people get married, they undertake to support each other for the rest of their lives. For this reason, the church does not favor divorce and sometimes insists on finding ways of reconciliation. However, if it is impossible to maintain the marital relationship, the church will most likely not oppose your divorce.


The most common reason for divorce within the state is the mutual consent of spouses.

No, this reason is not recognized as grounds for divorce.

No, it is not. You cannot file for divorce on this ground.

The insults of your spouse cannot be specified in a Complaint as a legal reason for your divorce.

Only separation for 6 months or more can be grounds for divorce; leaving a spouse for a short period of time is not a legal reason to end a marriage.

No, the fact that your spouse humiliates you cannot be cited as a reason, but it can be an argument for irreconcilable differences between you during divorce.

Your spouse’s unwise spending of money or the unwillingness to support you financially is not a legal reason for divorce.

No, cheating is not currently considered to be a legal reason for marriage dissolution.

You cannot file for divorce because you are not in love anymore, but you can state this reason as the fact leading to irreconcilable differences you cannot resolve.

No, smoking is not a reason for divorce within the state.

No, alcohol abuse is not recognized as a legal ground for marriage dissolution.