How to File for Divorce in Maryland

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A married couple can file for divorce in the state of Maryland after it has met the required residency period. Unlike many other states, Maryland does not allow you to declare "no fault" as a grounds for divorce; however, the state does allow you to claim separation as a ground for divorce, which is essentially the same.

Step 1

Confirm that you meet the residency requirements. Either the grounds for the divorce must have occurred in Maryland or one of the spouses must have lived in Maryland for one year immediately prior to the filing of the complaint for divorce.

Step 2

Determine in what court you will file the complaint. The complaint can be filed in the county where the plaintiff (you) live or in the county where the respondent (your spouse) lives, works or owns a business.

Step 3

Decide what grounds you are claiming and that you meet the separation period requirements pursuant to those grounds. Desertion, constructive desertion, voluntary separation and conviction of a felony require a 1-year separation before you can file for divorce in Maryland. Adultery, cruelty or vicious conduct grounds allow you to file for divorce immediately upon separation. Using the grounds of a 2-year separation (nonvoluntary separation) requires a 2-year separation and using insanity grounds requires that your spouse be committed to a mental institution for at least three years and that you have been living in Maryland for two years.

Step 4

Prepare the complaint for divorce and a summons that will notify your spouse that you have initiated the proceedings. All the forms that you will need, including the complaint, can be found on the Maryland Judiciary&#039;s website (see Resources).

Step 5

File the complaint and summons with the clerk of court and pay the required filing fee.


  • Always consult with an attorney if possible before proceeding pro se.



About the Author

Renee Booker has been writing professionally since 2009 and was a practicing attorney for almost 10 years. She has had work published on Gadling, AOL's travel site. Booker holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Ohio State University and a Juris Doctorate from Indiana University School of Law.

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