Uncontested Divorces in Maryland
As previously discussed in our August 15, 2009 blog, a divorce in Maryland may be filed on a no-fault basis (mutual and voluntary separation), after a one year separation period. Although parties may agree to file on a no-fault basis, they may not agree on the issues within their divorce, such as custody, property, alimony, etc., which renders the case contested. However, there are many cases where the couples were only married for a brief period of time, or do not have children, where clients come to us with not only a no-fault ground, but also no issues to resolve. They may have worked out a separation agreement before coming to us, or simply have no shared property to dispose of. In these cases, we must file for a divorce just as we would any other, but the courts have procedures in which these cases can be set in for the final divorce hearing much quicker than others. However, before the case can be set in for this hearing, the opposing side must file an Answer that confirms that the case is in fact uncontested and all issues are resolved. The final hearing is also much shorter than a normal hearing.
Even in an uncontested divorce that has been filed on a mutual and voluntary basis, the party must still prove the grounds for divorce. In Maryland, you must still have a corroborating witness at the hearing to testify that you and your spouse have lived separate and apart without cohabitation and without the resumption of the marital relationship (including sexual relations) for one year (or two in a two year separation ground), and there is no hope or expectation of reconciliation in your marriage. The witnessfurther needs to corroborate that the separation was in fact a mutual and voluntary one on the part of both husband and wife. The Maryland Code, Family Law § 7-101(b) states, “a court may not enter a decree of divorce on the uncorroborated testimony of the party who is seeking the divorce.” We have had many clients ask why when they have such a simple, issue free divorce they still have to jump through so many hoops. Unfortunately, even in what can be called a “simple divorce”, you still must meet the filing requirements and present the court with the evidence that is statutorily required to prove you are entitled to obtain a divorce.
For more information regarding Maryland divorce proceedings contact an experienced Maryland Divorce Attorney.