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DIVORCE

To obtain an absolute divorce, one spouse must first prove that at least one “ground” (a legally accepted reason) for absolute divorce exists.  A set of judicially recognized reasons for divorce exists in each state, including Virginia and Maryland.

There are two types of grounds: a “no fault” ground for divorce, and grounds based on the “fault” of a spouse.

“No Fault” Divorce Actions

“No-fault divorce” suits are those in which the spouses only ask for a divorce on the grounds that they have lived separate and apart, without any cohabitation and without interruption, and it being the intention of one of the parties that the separation be permanent, for the period of time required by law.

The “12-month separation” ground for divorce exists both in Virginia and Maryland states.

If the spouses have entered into a separation agreement and they have no minor children and they have lived separate and apart without cohabitation and without interruption for 6 (six) months. Such ground exists in Virginia, and in a number of other states, but not in Maryland.

Fault Grounds for Divorce

To obtain a fault-based divorce, you will have to prove that your spouse acted in certain ways. The fault grounds include: adultery, desertion, imprisonment for a crime, insanity, cruelty of treatment, and excessively vicious conduct. 

Jurisdiction

In order to obtain a divorce in Virginia, at least one of the parties to the divorce action must have been (and still be) an actual and bona fide resident of the state for at least six (6) months prior to the filing of the divorce action.

If the ground for divorce occurred in Maryland, you need only be currently living in Maryland at the time you file for divorce.  Where the grounds for divorce occurred outside Maryland, you or your spouse must have lived in Maryland for at least six months before filing your divorce complaint.