Couples with Minor Children May Now Utilize Mutual Consent Divorce in Maryland
It’s been a few years since the Maryland General Assembly first passed a provision allowing for what it called mutual consent as a grounds for absolute divorce in the state. You can read all about mutual consent divorce in our original update on the subject. Now though there’s been an update, and the bill which passed this year adds provisions so that many more parties may now be able to use mutual consent if they so choose.
The newly passed bill allows for parties with minor children to use mutual consent as a grounds for divorce as well. This is a major update, as previously, parties with minor aged children were simply prohibited from using the grounds of mutual consent.
That means they lost out on the option to experience all of the benefits of mutual consent divorce in Maryland. Namely: you don’t have to wait a full year of separation in order to proceed, and that all matters pertaining to the divorce—alimony and property distribution—can be settled in advance with a written, signed separation agreement. As long as neither party filed to set aside that agreement, the parties must simply attend the court hearing, then have the matter closed.
All of the above still applies for parties with minor children. In addition, the parties must also enter into a written agreement on all issues pertaining to the children, noted as “the care, custody, access, and support of minor or dependent children.” If child support is at issue, a child support worksheet should be attached to the agreement. The court must then concur that the agreement as it’s laid out is in the best interests of the children.
There’s more work to be done then as opposed to parties getting divorced without children involved, but that’s always going to be the case. The key is that you can still opt to pursue mutual consent as a grounds for absolute divorce if you’d like to, and take advantage of the benefits of this provision.
The full bill can be found on the General Assembly of Maryland’s website here, so you can see the text in its entirety if you so choose. If you have any questions on Maryland mutual consent divorce or are wondering if it’s the right path for you to pursue, call us today to schedule a free consultation at 240.395.1418.