Maryland Courts

Family Law Information

Divorce

There are two types of divorce available under Maryland law, absolute and limited.

Absolute divorce is the most common form. Absolute divorce requires legal grounds for separation. In Maryland the available grounds are adultery, desertion, 12 month separation, cruelty, excessively vicious conduct, certain criminal convictions and insanity. The most commonly used grounds for divorce is 12 month separation. Parties must live apart for twelve uninterrupted months. Limited divorce is designed for separating couples who may not meet the requirements for absolute divorce.

Preliminary matters such as scheduling or settlement conferences in divorce cases may be heard by Circuit Court masters. Divorce cases typically have unresolved property division problems. If the parties share custody of children, the court can settle issues surrounding child custody and support. The court may require parties to attend parenting seminars or mediation to help resolve conflict. Forms are available on the above link to assist self-represented parties.