In 2015, the Maryland laws changed to allow for couples with an agreement and no minor children to immediately file for a Mutual Consent Divorce. Now in October 2018, this will also be permitted for couples with minor children.
There is a lot of work that goes into finalizing an agreement that address all issues arising from a marriage, including (1) child custody; (2) support; and (3) property division, and trying to negotiate all the terms while living under one roof is definitely not easy. But there is a great reward for taking on this difficult task upfront– you spare yourself and your family the immense emotional toll and legal expense of a protracted contested case in court.
Couples that are interested in preserving goodwill, privacy, and/or family wealth have always strived to reach out of court settlements quickly and quietly, but now there is an added incentive: as soon as you have a comprehensive deal done, you can immediately get divorced in the Maryland courts.
For many of us that have been helping families navigate the legal system in Maryland for years, the one year waiting period was an unnecessary burden on couples that truly wanted and needed closure. Hopefully now more divorcing couples will look into mediation, Collaborative Divorce, or other alternatives that divorce professionals can offer to obtain an out-of-court settlement that will then qualify for the immediate filing of a Mutual Consent Divorce.
By Regina A. DeMeo