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Same-Sex Divorce

Maryland Attorneys Help Same-Sex Couples Divorce

Serving all families in Frederick, Rockville and beyond

Maryland has recognized same-sex marriages since January 1, 2013, and has honored same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions since 2010. Even before same-sex marriages could be performed in Maryland, the state’s highest court ruled that same-sex couples legally married in another state could divorce in Maryland.

But to obtain a divorce in Maryland, you have to meet the state’s residency requirements. And the fact that many states still fail to recognize same-sex marriages has led many LGBT couples to marry in states other than those in which they regularly reside. That can create complications with state residency requirements when same-sex spouses decide to divorce. The family law attorneys at Haspel & McLeod, P.C. are dedicated to meeting the legal needs of LGBT couples.

Residency requirements for a Maryland divorce

To file for divorce in Maryland, at least one spouse must be physically living in Maryland. How long a party must have lived in Maryland before filing a divorce complaint depends on where the grounds for the divorce occurred. If the grounds for divorce occurred in Maryland, you need only to be living in the state at the time you file for divorce. But if the grounds for divorce occurred outside Maryland, at least one of the spouses must have lived in Maryland for at least six (6) months before the filing of the divorce complaint.

What are the grounds for a Maryland divorce?

Maryland offers fault-based and no-fault divorces. The primary difference is that a no-fault divorce requires a 12-month separation before divorce, while a fault-based divorce does not. For a fault-based divorce, you must have one or more grounds, which include:

  • Adultery
  • Desertion
  • Conviction of a crime
  • Insanity
  • Cruel treatment
  • Vicious conduct

With respect to all of the grounds for divorce, the divorce will not be granted based on your and your spouse’s testimony alone. You must present other evidence, which can include the testimony of another witness or witnesses. If you can’t prove one of the fault-based grounds for divorce, you must go the no-fault route after an uninterrupted 12-month separation. You can file for divorce based on a 12-month separation even if your spouse does not consent to the divorce.

Do I still meet the residency rules if I move after I file?

You can move elsewhere in Maryland or even out of state after you file for divorce and still meet the residency requirements. What matters is that you or your spouse resided in Maryland when the divorce complaint was filed. But keep in mind that if you are seeking a no-fault divorce, you will need to prove where you lived during the 12-month separation. Our Frederick & Rockville family law attorneys help you sort out the residency requirements when you wish to file for a divorce.

Are there alternatives to a full-fledged divorce?

Maryland has two types of divorce — absolute and limited. A limited divorce determines the rights and obligations of the parties, but does not provide for a division of property and does not permit remarriage. An absolute divorce ends the marriage and determines all rights and obligations of the parties, including the final division of property. The grounds for an absolute are listed above on this page. A limited divorce may be granted on one of the following grounds:

  • The spouses are voluntarily living apart and there is no expectation of reconciliation
  • Cruel treatment
  • Vicious conduct
  • Desertion or constructive desertion

Some couples who intend to ultimately file for an absolute divorce file will initially file for a limited divorce just to get the process started. If you file for a limited divorce, you can amend the complaint to seek a no-fault absolute divorce once you have been separated for 365 days or by marital consent if you have a comprehensive separation agreement signed.

We help same-sex couples throughout Maryland

The family law attorneys at Haspel & McLeod, P.C. help same-sex couples sort out the residency and other requirements for a Maryland divorce. Call us at 301-631-0592, or contact us online today. Our offices are in Frederick and Rockville. Our Maryland attorneys represent individuals and families throughout Frederick, Montgomery and Howard counties and beyond.

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  • "I just wanted to thank you for all the hard work you’ve put into my case, I want you to know that I appreciate everything you’ve done for me and the girls. You’ve been a great lawyer"

  • "I would highly recommend Gwen. She is an excellent lawyer in terms of her knowledge, as well as her compassion. She fought for everything I wanted and won!! I’m very glad that she was my lawyer and not my ex-husband’s!"

  • "If you’re looking for a firm to stand by you, support you and fight for you and your family look no further than Haspel & McLeod."

  • "Gwen McLeod cuts through the mass and mess of information in a divorce, to get to the essence of what is relevant, and to represent her clients’ best interests. She is extremely direct in her delivery, highly organized, and has an excellent and well-coordinated support team. She has excellent relations within the Frederick legal arena, maintaining a high level of professionalism, and has an excellent understanding of family law. "

Office Locations
  • Frederick Office
    141 West Patrick Street
    First Floor
    Frederick, Maryland 21701
    Phone: 301-631-0592
    Fax: 301-631-0595
  • Rockville Office
    51 Monroe Street
    Suite 507
    Rockville, Maryland 20850
    Phone: 301-424-8841
    Fax: 301-424-0569
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