How to Get an Uncontested Divorce in Maryland
An uncontested divorce in Maryland is one in which both spouses agree to every term of divorce. It is not just when both spouses agree to get divorced. For an uncontested divorce in Maryland, both parties must agree on everything. In the case of any disagreements, if no accord is reached the divorce could end up in trial, incurring huge lawyer fees and enormous hassle in the process.
Step 1: Are You Qualified to Get an Uncontested Divorce in Maryland?
Fault grounds are the biggest roadblock to filing for divorce in Maryland. This may be surprising since it’s a “no-fault” state, but in order to apply for divorce without stated grounds, you need to have been legally separated for at least one year before petitioning the court, or not had sexual relations for two years.
Additionally, the couple must pass the residency test. One of the spouses must have lived in Maryland for at least one year before filing. The spouse should file in the county court for the county in which they reside.
Step 2: Initial Filing
Uncontested Divorce In Maryland proceedings and contested divorce Maryland proceedings both begin the same way, with the filing of a Complaint for Absolute Divorce. This will identify both spouses for the court as well as all other interested parties (such as children) and state the grounds for divorce. Remember, Maryland is a no-fault divorce state. In addition, a Civil-Domestic Information Report about the filing spouse specifically will be given to the court.
Step 3: Notification
The Complaint for Absolute Divorce will be mailed along with a blank Civil-Domestic Information Report and a Summons to the other spouse, called the Defendant. This should be done by a certified mail service requiring a receipt, as the receipt will tell the Court that the spouse has received notification of the uncontested divorce in Maryland.
Once the receipt is returned to the Plaintiff, the Plaintiff can file an Affidavit of Service saying the notification has occurred. The Defendant then has 30 days during which they can file an Answer to the Complaint, agreeing to all its claims. (They can also disagree, but then this wouldn’t be a Maryland uncontested divorce.) The couple should file together a Joint Request for an Uncontested Hearing at this time as well.
Step 4: The Long Wait
At the hearing, the Plaintiff will present their divorce complaint along with the following forms:
• Child Support Guidelines, if there are any children involved;
• A Report of Absolute Divorce which will be used by the court as a record;
• Witness Identification Information, for a witness confirming the residency claim;
• A copy of the Marriage License, proving the couple’s marriage;
• Separation Agreement, listing the terms of divorce; and
• Submission to Judgment, in which all rights to appeal the court’s judgment are waived.
If all this is brought, then the judge should sign the Report of Absolute Divorce and then make the uncontested divorce in Maryland final.