In Maryland, divorce may be filed as either a no-fault (mutual consent) or fault-based divorce, and understanding the grounds for fault in divorce may be advantageous to your situation. Here, the family and domestic law attorneys at Snee, Lutche, Helmlinger & Spielberger discuss the components of a fault divorce.

What Is a Fault Divorce?

A fault divorce takes place when one spouse requests that the divorce be granted on the grounds of fault. The State of Maryland accepts fault divorces, however, for one to be granted, certain stipulations must be met. Some common grounds for fault are:

  • Adultery
  • Cruelty
  • Desertion for An Extended Period of Time
  • Confinement in Prison for An Extended Period of Time
  • Excessively Vicious Conduct

Filing for a fault divorce may have an impact on divorce-related issues such as child custody, the division of marital property and eligibility for alimony.

Why File for Fault?

There are several reasons to file for a fault divorce. In some instances, couples with minor children may not want to wait out the 12 month period of separation required by Maryland for a no-fault divorce. In other cases, a spouse who proves the other’s fault may receive a greater share of marital property or be eligible for alimony.

It is noteworthy that beginning October 1, 2018, Maryland Courts are authorized to grant an absolute divorce on the grounds of mutual consent even if the parties have minor children under certain circumstances.

Defending Fault in Divorce

Preventing a fault divorce is possible. A spouse may successfully prevent a fault divorce by convincing the court that he or she is not at fault. Some notable defenses to a fault divorce are:

Condonation

Condonation simply put is one’s approval of their spouse’s actions. For example, a spouse who does not object to their partner’s adultery may be said to condone it. If the spouse sues the other for divorce claiming adultery, there may be a defense that the behavior was condoned, and thus does not qualify for a fault divorce.

Provocation

Provocation describes the incitement of another to perform a certain act. For example, if a spouse, who is suing for divorce, claims that the other spouse abandoned them, the spouse might defend the suit on the ground that their counterpart provoked the abandonment due to certain actions committed.

Consult the Maryland Domestic Law Attorneys at Snee, Lutche, Helmlinger & Spielberger

Filing for divorce can be one of the most stressful processes one will experience. As such, the Harford County attorneys at Snee, Lutche, Helmlinger & Spielberger make it a priority to ensure our clients’ wellbeing is preserved during the process. If you would like more information about fault divorces, or would like to speak with a qualified attorney regarding your Maryland divorce case, contact our office for a consultation today.