The 2015 Maryland General Assembly added a new ground for Absolute Divorce of “Mutual Consent” which goes into effect on October 1, 2015. This new ground is added to Maryland Code, Family Law Article, Section 7-103.
It has very specific requirements which must be met before you can use it.
- The parties cannot have any minor children in common.
- The parties must have a written settlement agreement signed by both parties which resolves all issues surrounding alimony and property.
You would file the divorce in the appropriate Circuit Court (and pay the fee) just like before. After the divorce has been filed but before the final hearing, neither party can file anything to set aside the agreement.
At the final hearing both parties must appear.
The good part is that there is no time requirement, so a couple who is agreeable can obtain their divorce very rapidly rather than waiting a year as they had to do under the prior law. Depending on how smoothly everything goes, it may be possible to be divorced as quickly as two months.
The bad part is that it adds the requirement that both parties must appear for the hearing. This could add a burden for couples where one party lives out of state or service-members.