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Coming October 1st, 2023: Divorce In Maryland Is Changing

REGISTER FOR OUR UPCOMING WEBINAR HERE The rules and guidelines for divorce in Maryland are about to change in a big way this fall. Earlier this year, the Maryland General Assembly passed legislation that will remove limited divorce as an option and bring additional changes to residency requirements and the grounds for filing a divorce in the state. With Maryland Governor Wes Moore signing the bill into law back in May, these changes are set to take effect on October 1st, 2023. This is going to fundamentally alter certain aspects of obtaining a divorce in Maryland, and if you or a loved one are considering filing a divorce, you need to be aware of these new guidelines to ensure that you’re maneuvering the process in the correct way, while protecting your own best interests. On this page, we’ll explain these changes in greater detail and how they’ll apply to someone filing for divorce after October 1st, 2023. JC Law’s Domestic Department Director, Abigail Beichler, Esq. summarizes the upcoming changes in this short video.

Limited Divorce is Being Repealed

As of right now, there are two primary types of divorce in Maryland, a limited divorce and an absolute divorce. While an absolute divorce represents a more traditional, complete termination of a marriage, a limited divorce has served as a viable option for couples who are unsure of whether they want to fully split up and formally end their marriage (or can’t for religious reasons). This essentially made limited divorce the Maryland equivalent to a “legal separation,” which isn’t currently recognized as an option in the State. Although beholden to the same grounds for filing (more on those later) as an absolute divorce, it was entirely possible for a couple to get back together after their limited divorce had expired. Until then, the couple had the opportunity to negotiate child custody, child support, and anything else outside of the formal distribution of assets or properties (which is only allowed in an absolute divorce proceeding). As of October 1st, all of that goes out the window, and limited divorce is removed as an option in Maryland. With no provision for legal separation either, that leaves an absolute divorce as the only “type” of divorce available in the State of Maryland. Read more about the changes in our latest blog. Don’t forget to register for our upcoming webinar, fill out the form here. The New Laws For Maryland Divorce webinar will take place on September 27th from 12-1pm.