Do We Need to be Separated for a Year to Get a Divorce? | Mutual Consent Divorce in Maryland
One of the most common questions we receive from new clients is, “Do I need to be physically separated for a year to get a divorce in Maryland?” Luckily, you do not need to be physically separated for a year to get divorced if certain circumstances apply to your situation.
Mutual Consent Divorce
The reason why a divorce can take so long is that there are many issues that need to be resolved. However, if you and your spouse can resolve all the issues arising out of your divorce, such as custody, financial support, and division of property, then those terms need to be put into a written, legal agreement, called a Separation Agreement (also referred to as a Marital Settlement Agreement). Once you have a signed Separation Agreement, you do not need to wait until you have lived apart for 12 consecutive months to file for a divorce. Instead, you can request a Mutual Consent Divorce, which has no waiting period.
A Mutual Consent Divorce requires the following:
You have a signed agreement resolving all issues arising out of the marriage
Both spouses want the divorce
Neither spouse has filed anything to set aside the agreement reached
You can get a Mutual Consent Divorce regardless of whether you have minor children and you and your spouse can even be living together at the time of the divorce.
How to File for Mutual Consent Divorce
A Mutual Consent Divorce is the quickest option for spouses looking to part ways. To obtain a Mutual Consent Divorce, after the Separation Agreement is signed, one of the spouses must file a “Complaint for Absolute Divorce” on the grounds of Mutual Consent and attach the signed Separation Agreement to the Complaint. Then, the other spouse must file an “Answer” affirming that they have an agreement on all issues and consent to the divorce. After the Answer has been received and the Court confirms that there are no outstanding issues left to resolve, an “uncontested divorce hearing” will be scheduled. Since COVID, many jurisdictions are holding these hearings remotely which allows parties to save time and money. These hearings typically only take a few minutes and are meant to confirm the information that was put in the Complaint, as well as an understanding of the terms of the agreement.
Important Considerations for Mutual Consent Divorce
Spouses who wish to file for a Mutual Consent Divorce should still consult with an experienced family law attorney to ensure their Separation Agreement addresses all of the issues which must be resolved and that the divorce paperwork is filed and approved promptly. If the Separation Agreement does not resolve all of the issues required by the Court, the divorce could take longer or be denied.
Do you have questions about Mutual Consent Divorce? Contact Laurie Wasserman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-842-1070. The legal team at Wasserman Family Law is here to help guide and advocate for you.
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