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New Law Expands Mutual Consent Divorce Grounds

Posted by Sarah I. Malik on May 31, 2018 at 11:40 PM

The Maryland legislature recently passed a new law that permits Mutual Consent divorces in cases where the parties have minor children. This law becomes effective October 1, 2018. 

Under the current rule regarding the mutual consent divorce, only parties without minor children (they can have adult children) can get a divorce under this ground so long as they have resolved all of their issues regarding alimony, maritaly property and debt in a signed agreement. The parties can, but are not required, to be living separate and apart. The only other requirement is that the parties must both attend the final divorce hearing.

Under the new law, the grounds of mutual consent divorce are expanded to parties with minor children.  However, the parties must also have a signed settlement agreement that provides for the alimony, property, care, custody, access, and support of minor or dependent children. The parties must also include a child support guidelines worksheet to the settlement agreement. Finally, both parties must also attend the divorce hearing.  As in any case where the court reviews an agreement regarding minor children, if the court is satisfied with the terms of the agreement relating to minor or dependent children to ensure that they are in the best interests of those children, it will grant the absolute divorce.

Parties can still pursue a divorce on the other grounds for divorce:



*Conviction of a felony or misdemeanor (if other conditions are met)

*12 month separation if the parties have lived separate and apart

*Insanity (if other conditions are met)

*Cruelty of treatment toward complaining party or minor child

*Excessively vicious condition toward the complaining party or minor child

Categories: Maryland Family Law

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