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Upcoming Changes to Maryland Family Law – Divorce

On October 1, 2015, several changes to Maryland divorce law will go into effect.  These changes were passed in the 2015 Regular Session of the General Assembly of Maryland and approved by the Governor of Maryland.

Grounds for Divorce – Mutual Consent – Senate Bill 472 / House Bill 165 (Chapter 353) is, perhaps, the most sweeping of the new changes to Maryland’s divorce law because it provides for an absolute divorce on the grounds of mutual consent if certain conditions are met. These conditions include a requirement that the parties do not have any minor children in common and that the parties submit a written settlement agreement to the court that resolves certain specific issues, such as property and financial issues.

Grounds for Limited Divorce – House Bill 0165 (Chapter 0226) affects the conditions to determine separation for purposes of granting a limited divorce on a specific ground by repealing certain requirements dealing with the voluntary nature of the separation and reconciliation. Additional information, including the Fiscal and Policy Note, is available on the General Assembly’s website.

Residency Requirement – House Bill 1185 (Chapter 473) provides that, under certain circumstances, the period of time that an applicant for divorce must reside in the State of Maryland will be reduced from one year to six months. Additional information, including the Fiscal and Policy Note, is available on the General Assembly’s website.

If you are looking for more information about divorce and other family law matters, available resources include the following.

  • FLSHCThe Family Law Self Help Center provides self-represented litigants with legal information and forms for family law matters such as divorce, custody, visitation, child support and name changes. Located at the Law Library, the Family Law Self Help Center has walk-in hours and telephone hours (410-280-5374).
  • The Law Library’s wiki site includes pages dedicated to Family Law Resources, including referrals, forms and reference materials.
  • The Circuit Court of Anne Arundel County’s website includes a “Learn About” page addressing Family Law Cases.
  • The Maryland Courts’ website includes information about Family Law Matters, such as adoption, child custody, child support, divorce, marriage and name change.
  • The Maryland People’s Law Library has a page dedicated to Family Law Articles.

For more information or help getting started with your research, contact the Law Library!

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