Modified Grounds for Divorce (July 12th, 2018)

A few years ago, the law changed so that a court could grant an absolute divorce on the ground of mutual consent if (1) the parties do not have any minor children in common, (2) the parties execute and submit to the court a written settlement agreement signed by both parties that resolves all issues relating to alimony and the distribution of property, as specified, (3) neither party files a pleading to set aside the settlement agreement prior to the divorce hearing required under the Maryland Rules, and (4) both parties appear before the court at the absolute divorce hearing.  This made getting a divorce easier, but the restrictions that it only applied to parties without minor children and that both parties had to appear at the trial still made it difficult for many people to take advantage of the new law.

Now, parties with minor children can obtain a divorce on the ground of mutual consent as long as they have resolved all issues relating to the care, custody, access, and support of minor or dependent children, they attach to the settlement agreement a completed child support guidelines worksheet, and the court is satisfied that any terms of the settlement agreement relating to minor or dependent children are in the best interests of those children.  Also, the legislature repealed the requirement that both parties appear at the hearing for the divorce.

These slight, but important, changes allow many more couples gain access to the court system and obtain a divorce without waiting a year or more to do so.  Of course, if you need help concerning your divorce, the attorneys at Winegrad, Hess, Friedman & Levitt, LLC have decades of experience in helping navigate the process of obtaining a divorce.  Please call to make any appointment for further information.