What is a Mutual Consent Divorce?

“Divorce” and “easy” are usually not two words that you see together. A divorce can be a very time-consuming, stressful and expensive process, and none of those words are typically associated with ease. Between filling out paperwork, spending time in court, looking for another place to stay while separate, and more, divorce comes with many challenges. So why doesn’t the law make it easier to get a divorce? If two mature adults decide that they don’t want to be married anymore, is it fair that they have to jump through so many hoops to end it?

In Maryland the only grounds for divorce that did not require a waiting period for the process to move forward were adultery and/or excessive cruelty. Outside of these, any other grounds for divorce required a waiting period. Yes, you read that correctly – “required” is in the past tense. Due to a change in the law, married couples can now get a “mutual consent divorce” if they meet the requirements and follow the steps correctly.

For a couple to get a mutual consent divorce in Maryland:

  • They must have no minor children in common.
  • They must sign and submit to the Court a written settlement agreement covering alimony and property rights.
  • Neither party can file a pleading to set aside the settlement agreement prior to the divorce hearing.
  • Both must appear at the uncontested divorce hearing.

If all of these conditions are met, they can get a mutual consent divorce, and save a lot of time, effort, and even money. Couples won’t have to worry about finding separate residences for a year, will spend less time in court, and overall will be less stressed from the process. Instead, they can focus on other key aspects of their life that will make the change in lifestyle more smooth and seamless. Also, the money that they save on fees can go towards other things to help with the transition, such as lawyer mediation.

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