How Do I Get a Divorce in Maryland?

Full Question:

Divorce issue: Spouse wants nothing...Only issue at hand is a house. Spouse is willing to relinquish all rights to the home with the only stipulation being that I return all interest and control in the event of my death or incapacitation. I am in the process of preparing a Quit-Claim Deed and a MD General Durable Power of Attorney (only valid until I sell or refinance, which frees her of any and all financial obligation). Once these documents are settled, can this divorce be as simple as a uncontested divorce? Wife is in California, and I will depart overseas for 6-months. If this is a simple uncontested divorce, then I plan to have a lawyer file and execute an uncontested divorce on my behalf. Overall...will this work? or do I need to pay more money for a divorce agreement also?...like I mentioned...no other issues except for home.
09/07/2009   |   Category: Divorce   |   State: Maryland   |   #18473

Answer:

In order to be granted a divorce, a divorce petition must be filed. If the parties are in agreement on the issues, a husband and wife may make a separation agreement concerning alimony, support, property rights, or personal rights, which may be incorporated into the final divorce decree. A no-fault divorce in Maryland may be granted based upon the parties living separate and apart without cohabitation for one year with no reasonable expectation of reconciliation.

The following are Maryland statutes:


§ 7-102 FAM. LAW. Provisions for limited divorce.

 


(a) Grounds for limited divorce. — The court may decree a limited
divorce on the following grounds:

 

(1) cruelty of treatment of the complaining party or of a minor child
of the complaining party;

 

(2) excessively vicious conduct to the complaining party or to a
minor child of the complaining party;

 

(3) desertion; or

 

(4) voluntary separation, if:

 

(i) the parties are living separate and apart without
cohabitation; and

 


(ii) there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation.

 

(b) Attempts at reconciliation. — As a condition precedent to granting
a decree of limited divorce, the court may:

 

(1) require the parties to participate in good faith in the efforts
to achieve reconciliation that the court prescribes; and

 

(2) assess the costs of any efforts to achieve reconciliation
that the court prescribes.

 

(c) Time during which decree is effective. — The court may decree a
divorce under this section for a limited time or for an indefinite time.

 

(d) Revocation of decree. — The court that granted a decree of limited
divorce may revoke the decree at any time on the joint application of the
parties.

 

(e) Decree of limited divorce on prayer for absolute divorce. —
If an absolute divorce is prayed and the evidence is sufficient to
entitle the parties to a limited divorce, but not to an absolute
divorce, the court may decree a limited divorce.

 

§ 7-103 FAM. LAW. Provisions for absolute divorce.

 


(a) Grounds for absolute divorce. — The court may decree an absolute
divorce on the following grounds:

 

(1) adultery;


(2) desertion, if:

 


(i) the desertion has continued for 12 months without interruption
before the filing of the application for divorce;


(ii) the desertion is deliberate and final; and


(iii) there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation;

 

(3) voluntary separation, if

 

(i) the parties voluntarily have lived separate and apart without
cohabitation for 12 months without interruption before the filing of the
application for divorce; and

 

(ii) there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation;

 

(4) conviction of a felony or misdemeanor in any state or in any court of
the United States if before the filing of the application for divorce the
defendant has:

 

(i) been sentenced to serve at least 3 years or an indeterminate sentence
in a penal institution; and

 

(ii) served 12 months of the sentence;

 

(5) 2-year separation, when the parties have lived separate and apart
without cohabitation for 2 years without interruption before the filing
of the application for divorce;

 

(6) insanity if

 

(i) the insane spouse has been confined in a mental institution,
hospital, or other similar institution for at least 3 years before the
filing of the application for divorce;

 

(ii) the court determines from the testimony of at least 2 physicians
who are competent in psychiatry that the insanity is incurable and there
is no hope of recovery; and

 

(iii) 1 of the parties has been a resident of this State for at least 2
years before the filing of the application for divorce;

 

(7) cruelty of treatment toward the complaining party or a minor child
of the complaining party, if there is no reasonable expectation of
reconciliation; or

 

(8) excessively vicious conduct toward the complaining party or a minor
child of the complaining party, if there is no reasonable expectation of
reconciliation.

 

(b) Recrimination. — Recrimination is not a bar to either party
obtaining an absolute divorce on the grounds set forth in
subsection (a)(1) through (8) of this section, but is a factor to be considered by
the court in a case involving the ground of adultery.


(c) Res judicata. — Res judicata with respect to another ground
under this section is not a bar to either party obtaining an absolute
divorce on the ground of 2-year separation.


(d) Condonation. — Condonation is not an absolute bar to a decree
of an absolute divorce on the ground of adultery, but is a factor to be
considered by the court in determining whether the divorce should be
decreed.

 

(e) Effect of limited divorce on application for absolute divorce.

(1) A court may decree an absolute divorce even if a party has
obtained a limited divorce.

 

(2) If a party obtained a limited divorce on the ground of desertion
that at the time of the decree did not meet the requirements of
subsection (a)(2) of this section, the party may obtain an absolute
divorce on the ground of desertion when the desertion meets the
requirements of subsection (a)(2) of this section.

 

§ 8-101 FAM. LAW. Valid deeds, agreements, settlements.

 


(a) Deed or agreement. — A husband and wife may make a valid and
enforceable deed or agreement that relates to alimony, support, property
rights, or personal rights.

 

(b) Settlement. — A husband and wife may make a valid and enforceable
settlement of alimony, support, property rights, or personal rights.

 

§ 8-105 FAM. LAW. Enforcement by power of contempt; modification.

 


(a) Enforcement by power of contempt. —
(1) The court may enforce by
power of contempt the provisions of a deed, agreement, or settlement that
are merged into a divorce decree.

 

(2) The court may enforce by power of contempt or as an independent
contract not superseded by the divorce decree the provisions of a deed,
agreement, or settlement that contain language that the deed, agreement,
or settlement is incorporated but not merged into a divorce decree.

 

(b) Modification. — The court may modify any provision of a deed,
agreement, or settlement that is:

 

(1) incorporated, whether or not merged, into a divorce decree; and


(2) subject to modification under § 8-103 of this subtitle.

 

§ 8-202 FAM. LAW. Determination of ownership of property: decree;
order of partition or sale.

 


(a) Determination of ownership. —
(1) When the court grants an
annulment or a limited or absolute divorce, the court may resolve any
dispute between the parties with respect to the ownership of personal
property.

 

(2) When the court grants an annulment or an absolute divorce, the
court may resolve any dispute between the parties with respect to the
ownership of real property.

 

(3) Except as provided in § 8-205 of this subtitle, the court may not
transfer the ownership of personal or real property from 1 party to the
other.

 

(b) Decree and order. — When the court determines the ownership of
personal or real property, the court may:

 

(1) grant a decree that states what the ownership interest of each
party is; and

 

(2) as to any property owned by both of the parties, order a partition
or a sale instead of partition and a division of the proceeds.

 

§ 8-203 FAM. LAW. Determination of marital property; time of action.

 


(a) Time of court action. — In a proceeding for an annulment or
an absolute divorce, if there is a dispute as to whether certain property
is marital property, the court shall determine which property is marital
property:

 

(1) when the court grants an annulment or an absolute divorce;

 

(2) within 90 days after the court grants an annulment or divorce, if
the court expressly reserves in the annulment or divorce decree the power
to make the determination; or

 

(3) after the 90-day period if:

 

(i) the court expressly reserves in the annulment or divorce decree
the power to make the determination;

 

(ii) during the 90-day period, the court extends the time for
making the determination; and

 

(iii) the parties consent to the extension.

 

(b) Consideration of military pension. — In this subtitle, a military
pension shall be considered in the same manner as any other pension or
retirement benefit.

 

(c) Exclusion of family home and family use personal property. —
Repealed.

 

§ 8-204 FAM. LAW. Determination of value of marital property.

 


(a) Determination by court. — Except as provided in
subsection (b) of this section, the court shall determine the value of all marital
property.

 

(b) Retirement benefits. —
(1) The court need not determine the
value of a pension, retirement, profit sharing, or deferred compensation
plan, unless a party has given notice in accordance with paragraph (2) of
this subsection that the party objects to a distribution of retirement
benefits on an "if, as, and when" basis.

 

(2) If a party objects to the distribution of retirement benefits on
an "if, as, and when" basis and intends to present evidence of the value
of the benefits, the party shall give written notice at least 60 days
before the date the joint statement of the parties concerning marital and
nonmarital property is required to be filed under the Maryland Rules. If
notice is not given in accordance with this paragraph, any objection to a
distribution on an "if, as, and when" basis shall be deemed to be waived
unless good cause is shown.

 

§ 8-205 FAM. LAW. Award or transfer of martial property; determination of
amount and method of payment or transfer.

 


(a) Grant of award. —
(1) Subject to the provisions of subsection (b)
of this section, after the court determines which property is marital
property, and the value of the marital property, the court may transfer
ownership of an interest in property described in paragraph (2) of this
subsection, grant a monetary award, or both, as an adjustment of the
equities and rights of the parties concerning marital property, whether
or not alimony is awarded.

 

(2) The court may transfer ownership of an interest in:

 

(i) a pension, retirement, profit sharing, or deferred compensation
plan, from one party to either or both parties;

 

(ii) subject to the consent of any lienholders, family use personal
property, from one or both parties to either or both parties; and

 

(iii) subject to the terms of any lien, real property jointly owned by
the parties and used as the principal residence of the parties when they
lived together, by:

 

1. ordering the transfer of ownership of the real property or any
interest of one of the parties in the real property to the other party if
the party to whom the real property is transferred obtains the release of
the other party from any lien against the real property;

 

2. authorizing one party to purchase the interest of the other party in
the real property, in accordance with the terms and conditions ordered by
the court; or

 

3. both.

 

(b) Factors in determining amount and method of payment or terms of
transfer. — The court shall determine the amount and the method of
payment of a monetary award, or the terms of the transfer of the interest
in property described in subsection (a)(2) of this section, or both,
after considering each of the following factors:

 

(1) the contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party to the
well-being of the family;

 

(2) the value of all property interests of each party;

 

(3) the economic circumstances of each party at the time the award is
to be made;

 

(4) the circumstances that contributed to the estrangement of the
parties;

 

(5) the duration of the marriage;

 

(6) the age of each party;

 

(7) the physical and mental condition of each party;

 

(8) how and when specific marital property or interest in property
described in subsection (a)(2) of this section, was acquired, including
the effort expended by each party in accumulating the marital property or
the interest in property described in subsection (a)(2) of this section,
or both;

 

(9) the contribution by either party of property described in
§ 8-201 (e)(3) of this subtitle to the acquisition of real property held by
the parties as tenants by the entirety;

 

(10) any award of alimony and any award or other provision that the
court has made with respect to family use personal property or the family
home; and

 

(11) any other factor that the court considers necessary or appropriate
to consider in order to arrive at a fair and equitable monetary award or
transfer of an interest in property described in subsection (a)(2) of
this section, or both.

 

(c) Award reduced to judgment. — The court may reduce to a judgment any
monetary award made under this section, to the extent that any part of
the award is due and owing.

 

§ 8-206 FAM. LAW. Policy on family home, family use personal property
with respect to minor children.

 


The court shall exercise its powers under §§ 8-207 through 8-213 of this
subtitle:

 


(1) to enable any child of the family to continue to live in
the environment and community that are familiar to the child; and

 

(2) to provide for the continued occupancy of the family home
and possession and use of family use personal property by a party
with custody of a child who has a need to live in that home.

 


§ 8-207 FAM. LAW. Determination of family home, family use personal
property.

 


(a) Determination. — In a proceeding for an annulment or a limited or
absolute divorce, the court may determine which property is the family
home and family use personal property:

 

(1) before the court grants an annulment or a limited or absolute
divorce; or

 

(2) when the court grants an annulment or a limited or absolute
divorce.

 

(b) Modification. — A preliminary or pendente lite determination
is subject to modification during the pendency of the proceeding.

 

(c) Certain property to be treated as marital property. — If the
court determines that there is no need for an order or decree issued
under this section regarding the family home or all or any part of family
use personal property, the property shall be treated as marital property
if it otherwise would have been treated as marital property.

 

§ 8-208 FAM. LAW. Award of family home or family use personal property;
required considerations; allocation of financial responsibilities.

 


(a) Award of possession and use. —
(1) When the court grants an
annulment or a limited or absolute divorce, regardless of how the family
home or family use personal property is titled, owned, or leased, the
court may:

 

(i) decide that 1 of the parties shall have the sole possession and
use of that property; or

 

(ii) divide the possession and use of the property between
the parties.

 

(2) The court may exercise these powers pendente lite.

 

(b) Required considerations. — In awarding the possession and use
of the family home and family use personal property, the court shall
consider each of the following factors:

 

(1) the best interests of any child;

 

(2) the interest of each party in continuing:

 

(i) to use the family use personal property or any part of it, or
to occupy or use the family home or any part of it as a dwelling place;
or

 

(ii) to use the family use personal property or any part of
it, or to occupy or use the family home or any part of it for the
production of income; and

 

(3) any hardship imposed on the party whose interest in the family
home or family use personal property is infringed on by an order issued
under §§ 8-207 through 8-213 of this subtitle.

 

(c) Allocation of financial responsibilities. — The court may order or
decree that either or both of the parties pay all or any part of:

 

(1) any mortgage payments or rent;


(2) any indebtedness that is related to the property;


(3) the cost of maintenance, insurance, assessments, and taxes; or


(4) any similar expenses in connection with the property.

 

(d) Effect of award of sole possession and use. — An order giving
a party the sole possession and use of the family home under
subsection (a) of this section does not affect the right of the other party to claim
the family home as that party's principal residence for tax purposes.

 

§ 8-209 FAM. LAW. Order or decree governing family home, family use
personal property, subject to power of court.

 


In a temporary or final order or decree, each provision that concerns
the family home or family use personal property is subject, as the
circumstances and justice may require, to:

 


(1) the terms and conditions that the court sets;

 

(2) the time limits that the court sets, subject to § 8-210 of this
subtitle; and

 

(3) modification or dissolution by the court.

 

§ 8-210 FAM. LAW. Termination of order or decree governing family
home or family use personal property.

 


(a) Time limitation. —
(1) In any order or decree, or any modification
of an order or decree, a provision that concerns the family home or
family use personal property shall terminate no later than 3 years after
the date on which the court grants an annulment or a limited or absolute
divorce.

 

(2) The 3-year limitation set out in paragraph (1) of this
subsection applies to a limited divorce notwithstanding the subsequent granting of an
absolute divorce.

 

(b) Remarriage of party with possession or use of property. — Subject
to the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, in any order or
decree, or any modification of an order or decree, a provision that
concerns the family home or family use personal property shall terminate
when the party with the possession or use of the property remarries.

 

(c) Treatment of property. — When a provision that concerns the family
home or family use personal property terminates, the court shall treat
the property as marital property if the property qualifies as marital
property, and adjust the equities and rights of the parties concerning the
property as set out in § 8-205 of this subtitle.

 

§ 8-211 FAM. LAW. Orders not considered evidence of constructive
desertion.

 


An order, award, or decree under §§ 8-207 through 8-209 of this
subtitle may not be considered as evidence of constructive desertion.