How Long Does it Take To Get Divorced in Maryland?

How long does it take so to get a divorce in Maryland?  What do you have to prove?

Historically Maryland was founded as a strongly Catholic community.  Over the centuries, some of Maryland’s domestic laws remain twinged with a penchant toward preserving marriage.  That’s a warm fuzzy way of saying that Maryland can be a hard state to get a divorce.

Divorce is always hard and I don’t mean the emotional havoc that divorce visits upon the parties involved.  I mean the nitty gritty little details of getting the divorce signed by a judge.  For example, in Maryland the married partners must live separately for over twelve months before they can obtain an uncontested divorce based upon separation.

In contrast, I am told that neighboring states such as Pennsylvania only require the parties to live apart for 90 days before they are eligible for a divorce.  In Maryland you have to be a resident of this state for over 12 months before you even file for the divorce.  Again some neighboring states only require residency for 30 days before you file.

Now if you contemplate the foregoing AND you ponder how close Gettysburg is to Frederick, you might consider a brief relocation over the border to “the Quaker State.”  

Theoretically you could move there for a month, file for your 90 day uncontested divorce in Pennsylvania and still be finished 8 months before you could in Maryland. 

I am not a Pennsylvania Lawyer so I don’t know if that is really possible.  I have heard of people doing that but, as I so often warn the uninitiated: urban legends don’t hold up in court! You would have to get a Pennsylvania lawyer to verify the myth. 

Personally,  I think that is a whole lotta running around to speed up something that in the end just a piece of paper.

Yes, I said a divorce is “just a piece of paper.”  That is not an act of divorce lawyer blasphemy. 

Remember we were talking about an “uncontested divorce”.  If nothing is contested, what’s another 8 months of legal separation versus an actual divorce?

Apparently, some folks in North Carolina think that even a one year divorce is too soon because they are considering stepping up to a 2 year divorce law. 

According to the North Carolina News Observer, lawmakers there are pondering the “Healthy Marriage Act” which would require a 2 year separation AND mandatory counseling before couples would be eligible for a divorce. 

In Maryland couples going through a contested divorce are required to go through mandatory mediation.  If you take nothing else from this article PLEASE understand that mediation is COMPLETELY different from marriage counseling. 

They are the same in the respect that they both involve a married couple sitting down with a third party to resolve their differences.  They a different from one another because the end product is opposite in each case. 

The goal you are working toward in marriage counseling is to resolve problems so you can stay married. The goal in mediation is to resolve problems so you can get a divorce.

The next most common technical difficulty in an uncontested Maryland Divorce after the residence and separation requirements is the “corroboration” requirement.

In Maryland when you go to court for your uncontested divorce or go before an Family Law Examiner for your taking testimony you have to bring a corroborative witness.  It sounds like a much bigger deal than it really is.

A corroborative witness is someone over 18 who can identify you and your spouse, who has some frame of reference that you have not lived together (such as having been to your new residence), and does not believe there is a reasonable expectation you will reconcile.

Once you understand the role of the corroborative witness it makes it clear that its pretty easy to meet this requirement. 

The “corroborative witness” is somebody who is verifying who you are and that you don’t reside with your estranged spouse. 

Ironically, new boyfriends and girlfriends are a common source of this “corroboration” because remember we are talking about UNCONTESTED divorce. 

Nobody  wants you divorced more than your boyfriend or girlfriend!!

I’m Timothy Conlon and I’m one of the lead attorneys for The Divorce Place in Frederick Maryland Connect with me on Google+ or on @Twitter

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