As some residents here in Gaithersburg know, there are two ways to file for divorce here in Maryland. If a couple has simply drifted apart or there is an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, then couples must separate for a year before filing for divorce. If there are grounds for divorce though, couples may file for the dissolution of marriage immediately without having to live separate for a year first.
Though this has been the law in our state for generations, the legalization of same-sex marriage by Maryland voters in 2013 raised an important question: did the same rules that applied to heterosexual couples in divorce now apply to homosexual couples? Though some believed that the answer was yes, it remained a query for many, even causing some couples to forgo divorce because they didn’t know if the law applied to them or not.
Recently though, clarification on this issue was provided by Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh. In his legal opinion, which has been reported on by several news sources including the Baltimore Sun, Frosh explains the grounds for divorce that apply to heterosexual couples also apply to homosexual couples. This means that if a same-sex spouse cheats on their partner or abuses them, both of which are grounds for divorce in our state, then the aggrieved partner could file for a divorce without having to be separated first.
Though Attorney General Brian E. Frosh’s statement will likely make filing for divorce easier for same-sex couples in our state, it’s important to point out that couples may still need help from a lawyer because our state’s laws are always subject to change.
This is something we understand all too well here at The McKeon Law Firm. We understand that couples planning on getting a divorce may need to talk to someone who is up to date on the law and can offer advice applicable to each couples’ situation. It’s this individualized service we offer to all of our clients.