A new ground for divorce, called Mutual Consent
, became available in Maryland on October 1, 2015. Many grounds for divorce in Maryland require that the divorcing spouses live separate and apart for a year and a day before filing for divorce. The exciting difference of a Mutual Consent divorce is that spouses eligible for a divorce on the grounds of Mutual Consent are not required to live separate and apart for a year and a day, or any other period of time, before seeking a divorce. Many grounds for divorce in Maryland require that the spouse requesting the divorce bring a corroborating witness to the divorce hearing. In Montgomery County, Maryland, a corroborating witness is not needed to obtain a divorce on the grounds of Mutual Consent.
To be eliigible for a divorce on the grounds of Mutual Consent the parties must:
- Not have any minor children in common;
- Submit a written settlement agreement to the Court, signed by both parties that resolves all issues of support, and property;
- Neither party may seek to set aside the written settlement agreement before the divorce hearing and
- Both parties appear at the divorce hearing.
Other changes as of October 1, 2015 include:
- A limited divorce can now be granted on the grounds of a separation. The separation no longer has to be voluntary on the part of both parties, and there no longer has to be no reasonable hope or expectation of a reconcilation.
- The residency requirement for divorce grounds occuring outside the State of Maryland have been reduced. A party may file for divorce after having resided in Maryland for at least 6 months before filing. The residency requirement used to be a year.