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Maryland Divorce Laws (Selected)

  •  Residency and Corroboration

    1. 7-101. General provisions

      1. Residence requirement

        If the grounds for the divorce occurred outside of this State, a party may not apply for a divorce unless 1 of the parties has resided in this State for at least 1 year before the application is filed.

      2. Corroboration of testimony required

        A court may not enter a decree of divorce on the uncorroborated testimony of the party who is seeking the divorce.

  •  Grounds for Limited Divorce

    1. 7-102. Limited divorce

      1. Grounds for limited divorce

        The court may decree a limited divorce on the following grounds:

        1. cruelty of treatment of the complaining party or of a minor child of the complaining party;
        2. excessively vicious conduct to the complaining party or to a minor child of the complaining party;
        3. desertion; or
        4. voluntary separation, if:
          1. the parties are living separate and apart without cohabitation; and
          2. there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation.
      2. Attempts at reconciliation

        As a condition precedent to granting a decree of limited divorce, the court may:

        1. require the parties to participate in good faith in the efforts to achieve reconciliation that the court prescribes; and
        2. assess the costs of any efforts to achieve reconciliation that the court prescribes.
      3. Time during which decree is effective

        The court may decree a divorce under this section for a limited time or for an indefinite time.

      4. Revocation of decree

        The court that granted a decree of limited divorce may revoke the decree at any time on the joint application of the parties.

      5. Decree of limited divorce on prayer for absolute divorce

        If an absolute divorce is prayed and the evidence is sufficient to entitle the parties to a limited divorce, but not to an absolute divorce, the court may decree a limited divorce.

  •  Grounds for Absolute Divorce and Defenses

    1. 7-103. Absolute divorce

      1. Grounds for absolute divorce

        The court may decree an absolute divorce on the following grounds:

        1. adultery;
        2. desertion, if:
          1. the desertion has continued for 12 months without interruption before the filing of the application for divorce;
          2. the desertion is deliberate and final; and
          3. there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation;
        3. voluntary separation, if:
          1. the parties voluntarily have lived separate and apart without cohabitation for 12 months without interruption before the filing of the application for divorce; and
          2. the desertion is deliberate and final; and
          3. there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation;
        4. conviction of a felony or misdemeanor in any state or in any court of the United States if before the filing of the application for divorce the defendant has:
          1. been sentenced to serve at least 3 years or an indeterminate sentence in a penal institution; and
          2. served 12 months of the sentence;
        5. 2-year separation, when the parties have lived separate and apart without cohabitation for 2 years without interruption before the filing of the application for divorce;
        6. insanity if:
          1. the insane spouse has been confined in a mental institution, hospital, or other similar institution for at least 3 years before the filing of the application for divorce;
          2. the court determines from the testimony of at least 2 physicians who are competent in psychiatry that the insanity is incurable and there is no hope of recovery; and
          3. 1 of the parties has been a resident of this State for at least 2 years before the filing of the application for divorce;
        7. cruelty of treatment toward the complaining party or a minor child of the complaining party, if there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation; or
        8. excessively vicious conduct toward the complaining party or a minor child of the complaining party, if there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation.
      2. Recrimination

        Recrimination is not a bar to either party obtaining an absolute divorce on the grounds set forth in subsection (a)(1) through (8) of this section, but is a factor to be considered by the court in a case involving the ground of adultery.

      3. Res judicata

        Res judicata with respect to another ground under this section is not a bar to either party obtaining an absolute divorce on the ground of 2year separation.

      4. Condonation

        Condonation is not an absolute bar to a decree of an absolute divorce on the ground of adultery, but is a factor to be considered by the court in determining whether the divorce should be decreed.

      5. Effect of limited divorce on application for absolute divorce

        1. A court may decree an absolute divorce even if a party has obtained a limited divorce.
        2. If a party obtained a limited divorce on the ground of desertion that at the time of the decree did not meet the requirements of subsection (a)(2) of this section, the party may obtain an absolute divorce on the ground of desertion when the desertion meets the requirements of subsection (a)(2) of this section.
  •  Settlement Agreements

    1. 8-101. Deeds, agreements, and settlements valid

      1. Deed or agreement

        A husband and wife may make a valid and enforceable deed or agreement that relates to alimony, support, property rights, or personal rights.

      2. Settlement

        A husband and wife may make a valid and enforceable settlement of alimony, support, property rights, or personal rights.

  •  Marital and Non-Marital Property

    1. 8-201. Definitions

      1. Marital property

        1. "Marital property" means the property, however titled, acquired by 1 or both parties during the marriage.
        2. "Marital property" includes any interest in real property held by the parties as tenants by the entirety unless the real property is excluded by valid agreement.
        3. Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, "marital property" does not include property:
          1. acquired before the marriage;
          2. acquired by inheritance or gift from a third party;
          3. excluded by valid agreement; or
          4. directly traceable to any of these sources.
  •  Marital Property Award

    1. 8-205. Marital Property Award

      1. Grant of award

        1. Subject to the provisions of subsection (b) of this section, after the court determines which property is marital property, and the value of the marital property, the court may transfer ownership of an interest in property described in paragraph (2) of this subsection, grant a monetary award, or both, as an adjustment of the equities and rights of the parties concerning marital property, whether or not alimony is awarded.
        2. The court may transfer ownership of an interest in:
          1. a pension, retirement, profit sharing, or deferred compensation plan, from one party to either or both parties;
          2. subject to the consent of any lienholders, family use personal property, from one or both parties to either or both parties; and
          3. subject to the terms of any lien, real property jointly owned by the parties and used as the principal residence of the parties when they lived together, by:
            1. ordering the transfer of ownership of the real property or any interest of one of the parties in the real property to the other party if the party to whom the real property is transferred obtains the release of the other party from any lien against the real property;
            2. authorizing one party to purchase the interest of the other party in the real property, in accordance with the terms and conditions ordered by the court; or
            3. both.
      2. Factors in determining amount and method of payment or terms of transfer.

        The court shall determine the amount and the method of payment of a monetary award, or the terms of the transfer of the interest in property described in subsection (a)(2) of this section, or both, after considering each of the following factors:

        1. the contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party to the wellbeing of the family;
        2. the value of all property interests of each party;
        3. the economic circumstances of each party at the time the award is to be made;
        4. the circumstances that contributed to the estrangement of the parties;
        5. the duration of the marriage;
        6. the age of each party;
        7. the physical and mental condition of each party;
        8. how and when specific marital property or interest in property described in subsection (a)(2) of this section, was acquired, including the effort expended by each party in accumulating the marital property or the interest in property described in subsection (a)(2) of this section, or both;
        9. the contribution by either party of property described in 8201(e)(3) of this subtitle to the acquisition of real property held by the parties as tenants by the entirety;
        10. any award of alimony and any award or other provision that the court has made with respect to family use personal property or the family home; and
        11. any other factor that the court considers necessary or appropriate to consider in order to arrive at a fair and equitable monetary award or transfer of an interest in property described in subsection (a)(2) of this section, or both.
      3. Award reduced to judgment

        The court may reduce to a judgment any monetary award made under this section, to the extent that any part of the award is due and owing.

  •  Alimony

    1. 11-106. Award Determination of amount and duration

      1. Court to make determination

        1. The court shall determine the amount of and the period for an award of alimony.
        2. The court may award alimony for a period beginning from the filing of the pleading that requests alimony.
        3. At the conclusion of the period of the award of alimony, no further alimony shall accrue.
      2. Required considerations

        In making the determination, the court shall consider all the factors necessary for a fair and equitable award, including:

        1. the ability of the party seeking alimony to be wholly or partly selfsupporting;
        2. the time necessary for the party seeking alimony to gain sufficient education or training to enable that party to find suitable employment;
        3. the standard of living that the parties established during their marriage;
        4. the duration of the marriage;
        5. the contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party to the wellbeing of the family;
        6. the circumstances that contributed to the estrangement of the parties;
        7. the age of each party;
        8. the physical and mental condition of each party;
        9. the ability of the party from whom alimony is sought to meet that party's needs while meeting the needs of the party seeking alimony;
        10. any agreement between the parties;
        11. the financial needs and financial resources of each party, including:
          1. all income and assets, including property that does not produce income;
          2. any award made under 8205 and 8208 of this article;
          3. the nature and amount of the financial obligations of each party; and
          4. the right of each party to receive retirement benefits; and
        12. whether the award would cause a spouse who is a resident of a related institution as defined in 19301 of the Health General Article and from whom alimony is sought to become eligible for medical assistance earlier than would otherwise occur.
      3. Award for indefinite period

        The court may award alimony for an indefinite period, if the court finds that:

        1. due to age, illness, infirmity, or disability, the party seeking alimony cannot reasonably be expected to make substantial progress toward becoming selfsupporting; or
        2. even after the party seeking alimony will have made as much progress toward becoming selfsupporting as can reasonably be expected, the respective standards of living of the parties will be unconscionably disparate.
  •  Child Support

    1. 12-204. Determination of child support obligation

      1. Schedule to be used; division among parents; maintenance and alimony awards

        1. The basic child support obligation shall be determined in accordance with the schedule of basic child support obligations in subsection (e) of this section. The basic child support obligation shall be divided between the parents in proportion to their adjusted actual incomes.
          1. If one or both parents have made a request for alimony or maintenance in the proceeding in which a child support award is sought, the court shall decide the issue and amount of alimony or maintenance before determining the child support obligation under these guidelines.
          2. If the court awards alimony or maintenance, the amount of alimony or maintenance awarded shall be considered actual income for the recipient of the alimony or maintenance and shall be subtracted from the income of the payor of the alimony or maintenance under 12201(c)(2) of this subtitle before the court determines the amount of a child support award.
      2. Voluntarily impoverished parent

        1. Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, if a parent is voluntarily impoverished, child support may be calculated based on a determination of potential income.
        2. A determination of potential income may not be made for a parent who:
          1. is unable to work because of a physical or mental disability; or
          2. is caring for a child under the age of 2 years for whom the parents are jointly and severally responsible.
      3. Income between amounts in schedule

        If a combined adjusted actual income amount falls between amounts shown in the schedule, the basic child support amount shall be extrapolated to the next higher amount.

      4. Income above schedule levels

        If the combined adjusted actual income exceeds the highest level specified in the schedule in subsection (e) of this section, the court may use its discretion in setting the amount of child support.

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