Divorce in Maryland and D.C.

Divorce in Maryland and D.C.

Divorce can be an overwhelming experience. Emotions naturally run high during this time of conflict. Yet still, important life decisions must be made to protect your property, debts, children, and future. Having a divorce attorney like Ms. Davis on your side can help increase your chances of prevailing and receiving what you seek to recover in your case. Ms. Davis has demonstrated excellence in Maryland and DC cases due to her strategic thinking and problem solving. She thinks about and anticipates the position and likely actions from the opposing side of the case, and she understands the law and court processes in Maryland and D.C.

Divorce in Maryland

Absolute Divorce

In Maryland getting an absolute divorce and is distinguishable from a limited divorce. When a judge grants an absolute divorce it means that the parties are no longer legally married.


For an uncontested absolute divorce that avoids trial, the parties must have a legally enforceable separation agreement prepared. They generally must have been separated for 12 months.

The New Law: In Maryland if you do not have children you may be able to get an expedited divorce without waiting 12 months (To read the law in all its legalese glory, see Maryland Family Law Article section 7-103(8), as amended: here).


When the parties do not agree on the issues to be resolved in a divorce a contested absolute divorce is appropriate and a trial will be held.

In Maryland, generally, you may terminate the marriage based on a 12-month separation if there is no expectation of reconciliation.

Or you may terminate the marriage based on fault: adultery, cruel treatment, insanity, desertion, certain criminal convictions. The decision about whether to obtain a fault divorce should be carefully evaluated with an attorney.


Limited Divorce in Maryland

A limited divorce can be granted by a court when the parties no longer want to live as husband and wife, but are still legally married. For this type of court order, the parties must be living separate and apart.

This type of judgment will establish an order for child custody, child support, alimony, retirement, health insurance, ownership of personal property and use and possession of the marital home, but will not decide the division of property.

The married couple may not remarry until they obtain an absolute divorce. 12 months after separating, the parties may obtain an absolute divorce.

Divorce in D.C.

In D.C., a divorce can be granted based on 1 of 2 grounds:

  1. If the parties have been living separated and apart by mutual agreement for 6 months; or
  2. If the parties have been living separate and apart involuntarily for 12 month; in other words, if one party leaves the other and there was no agreement about doing so that is an involuntary separation. Under some circumstances, a couple sharing a home may demonstrate that they are separated by not sharing food or a bed.


Like in Maryland, an uncontested divorce in D.C. requires that there be a legally enforceable separation agreement that reflects that all matters involving the marriage have been mutually agreed upon. If you wish to obtain an uncontested divorce, but have a few issues that you cannot agree on, mediation can help. It is much less expensive to mediate your issues than to have a contested divorce trial.


If there are any issues that need to be resolved between the parties, a contested divorce with a trial is appropriate.

The time in between filing your case and trial involves many things:  determining what is in your best interests and any children you may have, developing a legal strategy to obtain what you seek, information gathering and evidence to help bolster your position, communicating with opposing counsel about a potential settlement, complying with court requirements, motions hearings with legally accurate arguments, preparing parties, witnesses, and experts for trial, and following legal, court, and evidentiary rules during trial. If you are thinking of dissolving your marriage, or contemplating a legal separation, you need a strong advocate who is knowledgeable and experienced.

For divorce representation, call 202.870.3021 or email info@pdavislawfirm.com.

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