There are two types of grounds for divorce: grounds based on a fault and no fault. Grounds based on fault may permit a party to obtain an absolute divorce within 12 months and could serve as a factor considered by the court in determining alimony or a marital award. There are two no-fault grounds for divorce. The most common is a 12-month separation, which means that the parties have lived separate and apart without resuming cohabitation for at least a period of 12 months. The second no-fault ground is a divorce by mutual consent which requires the parties not have children and resolve all their property issues.

If you believe your spouse is responsible for the divorce, you may want to consider some grounds based on fault.

1) Adultery: your spouse has cheated on you.

2) Desertion: your spouse has left the marital home (called “actual desertion”) or you were justified in leaving the marital home (called “constructive desertion”), the desertion is deliberate and final, and 12-months have passed.

3) If your spouse was convicted of a felony or misdemeanor, has been sentenced to serve at least three years or an indeterminate sentence, and has served at least 12 months of that sentence.

4) Insanity: If your spouse has been confined to a mental institution or hospital for at least three years prior to filing for divorce and at least two physicians testify at trial that the insanity is incurable and there is no hope of recovery.

5) Cruelty of treatment involves either physical or verbal abuse where the spouses conduct endangers the life or health of their spouse or minor child(ren) which makes living together unsafe.

6) Excessively vicious conduct involves a pattern of serious domestic violence or some other severe physical or emotional action.

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Valerie E. Anias, Esquire
Valerie E. Anias, Esquire
Valerie E. Anias is a founding member of ERA Law Group, LLC. She leads the family law, personal injury, and mediation sections of the firm’s practice in Annapolis, Maryland. She is passionate about assisting underrepresented individuals and advocates for her clients irrespective of their gender, race, sexual orientation, family status, etc. Valerie is a member of the Bar Associations of Maryland, Prince George’s County, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, and Baltimore City. She is published in the Maryland State Bar Journal and is a writer for Baltimore OUTloud. In her spare time, Val volunteers her time to Maryland Volunteer Lawyer Services and FreeState Justice. Valerie received her J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law after receiving her B.A. in Philosophy, Politics, and Law from Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York. Valerie is licensed to practice in Maryland and the United States District Court for the District of Maryland.