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Legislative Wrap-Up Part One: Big Changes to Mutual Consent Divorce

Father holding his daughterOne of the most significant legislative achievements of the past Maryland General Assembly session was the changes to mutual consent divorce. Now, parents with minor children in common can file without a separation period beforehand. Another piece of legislation changed the laws around the mandatory court appearance for a mutual consent divorce. Both changes will make the mutual consent divorce process more straightforward and less expensive.

The New Mutual Consent Divorce Law for Couples with Children

The new mutual consent divorce laws allow couples with minor children in common to file for divorce without the previous mandatory year-long separation period. Couples now are subject to the same rules as couples without minor children in common. The divorce is considered no-fault and does not require any separation period. What do couples need to file?

  • A signed, written settlement agreement that resolves alimony and property distribution, in addition to the care, custody and support of the children in common.
  • A settlement agreement that includes a child support guidelines worksheet (if child support is included in the settlement)
  • No objections to the agreement from either party

Previously, couples with minor children in common needed to be separated for at least a year before filing. This meant that couples had to bear the financial burden of having two different homes and separate finances. The major changes to divorce in Maryland will prevent couples with minor children in common for bearing these tremendous financial burdens.

Changes to Mutual Consent Court Appearance Rules

This set of legislation changes the requirement for attending a court appearance for a mutual consent divorce. Previously, both parties needed to attend the final contested divorce hearing in court. Now, the defendant does not need to attend as long as all procedural issues have been addressed. As long as all issues are taken care of, the defendant is not required to participate in the hearing.

Complete a Mutual Consent Divorce with Help from Lebovitz Law

Mutual consent divorces need a signed agreement from both parties. Without a skilled lawyer, an agreement can be difficult to obtain. Lebovitz Law has decades of experience working with couples to create mutual consent divorce agreements that resolve alimony, custody and property issues. We can guide you through the entire divorce process, whether you are divorcing by mutual consent or not, and assist with all filings and court dates. To learn more about how we can assist you, please contact us today.

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