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Proposed law would make it easier to get a divorce in Maryland

On behalf of Shelly McKeon

Two bills have been introduced in the Maryland legislature that would make it much easier to begin divorce proceedings.

State lawmaker says change would encourage more amicable divorces

A bill has been put forward in the Maryland legislature that would make it easier for spouses to divorce in the state, according to the Star-Democrat. The bill, SB 363, would remove some of the current restrictions in place that can make it difficult for spouses to get a divorce. Maryland is currently known for having some of the most restrictive divorce laws in the nation. Supporters of the bill say that current law encourages legal battles and particularly harms children and victims of domestic violence. Another bill has also been filed that would loosen the requirements for filing a limited divorce.

Speed up divorce

Maryland currently requires couples who want a divorce to be living separately for one year before a court will grant the divorce. This requirement is waived in cases involving a felony conviction, adultery, or other specific cases. According to the website for State Senator Bobby Zirkin, who filed SB 363, the current law gives spouses an incentive to tarnish the reputation of the other spouse in order to get a divorce proceeding underway faster.

SB 363 would allow couples to begin divorce proceedings immediately so long as they both agree on matters relating to alimony, property division, and child care. Once the couple has agreed on such issues, an independent review would have to be passed to make sure that the agreement accords with the child’s best interests.

Amicable divorce

By removing an incentive to make a divorce nasty, supporters of the bill hope the change will encourage more amicable divorce proceedings. Such a change could be particularly beneficial to the well-being of children who may otherwise be exposed to parents fighting both in and outside of court. The bill would also allow divorcing couples to remain in the same house together, thus eliminating a potential financial burden that is imposed by current law.

Another bill has also been filed that applies to limited divorces. Some of the current limited divorce law requires both spouses to agree to a divorce and to agree that there is no hope for reconciliation. The proposed legislation would eliminate this requirement. The bill’s supporters say current law places domestic violence victims in a vulnerable situation since the abuser may refuse to agree to a divorce.

Family law advice

With divorce law in Maryland potentially changing, it is important for divorcing spouses to be kept informed of the latest developments. An experienced family law attorney can help anybody considering a divorce understand not only the latest changes in family law, but also how those developments may apply to a family’s unique situation.

Keywords: divorce, custody, property, division

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