Can You Get an Immediate Divorce in Maryland?

We often come across people seeking “immediate divorce.” This terminology is tricky, as technically there is no such thing as an “immediate divorce” in Maryland. There is, however, absolute divorce. You can read about the difference between absolute and limited divorce in our previous blog post here.

The grounds for an absolute divorce will impact the timeframe, as some require a waiting period and others do not. Some grounds will also affect alimony, child support payments, and child custody. Here, we will cover some of these grounds and what you can expect when seeking an absolute divorce.

Grounds for an Absolute Divorce

To obtain and absolute divorce, one spouse must prove at least one legally accepted reason for divorce, otherwise known as a “ground.” There are two categories of grounds. The first is “No Fault,” and other is grounds based on the “fault” of a spouse. When filing for divorce, you may claim more than one ground, and some grounds require a waiting period before the divorce is finalized.

No Fault Grounds

  1. Separation – A 12-month separation is required to constitute a “no fault” ground. Before filing, the spouses must have lived apart without sexual contact for an uninterrupted 12 months.
  2. Mutual Consent – In 2015, Maryland added mutual consent as a ground for divorce. If both parties agree to a divorce, a court may grant an absolute divorce without a waiting period.

Fault Grounds

In Maryland, there are seven accepted fault grounds for an absolute divorce. Adultery, desertion, conviction of certain crimes, insanity, cruelty, and excessively vicious conduct. Below, we cover what you can expect when filing divorce under the grounds of adultery or desertion.


  • Requires no waiting period.
  • Must be proven to the court with evidence such as text messages or emails between the guilty spouse and the non-spouse, and/or photographs of them together engaged in public displays of affection.
  • It is not enough for a spouse to admit to adultery.

Actual desertion

  • The deserting spouse must have intended to leave the marriage against the wishes of the other spouse.
  • Deserting spouse must be out of the home for an uninterrupted 12 months without justification.
  • There cannot be hope for reconciliation.

Constructive desertion

  • A spouse exhibits behaviors that require the other spouse to leave the home to avoid physical and mental harm to themselves and/or their children.
  • Requires the same proof as actual desertion, while also considering the nature and length of time of the behaviors, and what was done to try to fix the marriage.

How Long Does Absolute Divorce Take in Maryland?

The time periods of a divorce in Maryland are highly situational. It could be a few months, but it could also take years depending on the circumstances. Although grounds such as adultery do not require a waiting period, they do require a lot of evidence. Compiling enough compelling evidence can take some time. Understanding the exact requirements for your divorce is an important step in saving yourself time and hassle. Our divorce lawyers are skilled in divorce negotiations, mediation, and litigation. Contact The Machin Law Firm today, we can help guide you through the Maryland’s complex divorce laws.

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