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Barbara R. Trader, P.A.


In Maryland, there are a number of different grounds for divorce. Most often, the parties reach an agreement that the separation is a voluntary one and one year after they begin living physically separate and apart, a divorce is obtained. Another ground for divorce that requires the one-year separation is desertion. This is when one spouse leaves another with no justification or reason for doing so. After living separate and apart for a year, the party who was deserted may obtain a divorce.

Sometimes the parties differ as to whether there was a desertion or a constructive desertion. Constructive desertion occurs when one spouse is forced to leave the home because the other has acted in such a way that the spouse who left had to leave to preserve her or his dignity, wellbeing and self-respect. For this ground for divorce, you may not have to live physically separate and apart for a year before obtaining the divorce.

Recently the legislature has expanded grounds for divorce to include cruelty or harshness of treatment. These two new grounds are based on obtaining an Order for Protection from Domestic Violence (see link). For these grounds, you need not wait for a year's physical separation. Another ground for divorce that doesn't require the year separation is adultery. To prove adultery, you must show motive and an opportunity for the adultery to occur.

There are a few other grounds for divorce, including insanity and incarceration for at least three years. All grounds for divorce require a corroborating witness. This is someone who knows both spouses, knows when they married, knows when they separated, and why they separated. When the time come to present testimony on grounds, your attorney will help you decide who is the best witness to corroborate your testimony.

For more information on grounds for divorce, go to our Resource Links and click on When you reach that site, click on and request a copy of Legal Rights in Marriage & Divorce.

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The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.

Copyright 2002 by Barbara R. Trader, P.A. All rights reserved. You may reproduce materials available at this site for your own personal use and for non-commercial distribution. All copies must include this copyright statement.