Can I Get a Divorce in Maryland Without Going to Court?

In the state of Maryland, there are a few alternatives for couples to divorce without the delays, invasions of privacy, subjugation to court-ordered directives, and expenses associated with going to court. If you and your spouse can agree upon all or most of the terms of your divorce, you can consider these alternative dispute resolutions.


Mutual Consent Divorce

As of October 2018, if you and your spouse agree upon all the terms of your divorce, you may avoid court intervention and arduous proceedings by filing for a Mutual Consent Divorce. To do this, an agreement must first be signed resolving all property, alimony, and issues concerning the minor children including support, custody, and visitation. This ground divorce enables parties to obtain a divorce without the 1-year separation requirement.

Once the Complaint and related documents are filed, your spouse is served, and his or her Answer is filed, a hearing (virtual or in-person) will be scheduled promptly, typically within 45-60 days. Each spouse will agree to the dissolution and agreement under oath, a judgment of absolute divorce will be granted, and the marriage will be dissolved.

While you are not required to have legal representation under the Maryland mutual consent divorce law, you will likely want to have an attorney assist you with drafting and finalizing the agreement and the filing of the requisite documents. Their understanding of the process and the paperwork can make your divorce easier and more efficient.


Divorce Mediation

Even if you cannot agree upon all the terms of your separation, you can still avoid court by entering a private mediation process with your spouse. By committing to this process, you will need to agree with your spouse on the eventual terms of your divorce. By hiring a mediator – usually a family law attorney, retired Judge, or certified mediator familiar with likely outcomes in court and adept at maximizing the best interests of both parties in personalized proceedings – the spouses can spare themselves the inconvenience, depersonalization, and delay associated with a court orchestrated divorce.  

When it comes to mediation, the dates are set for both spouses to sit down (virtually or in-person) with a mediator to review all aspects of the separation of finances, living arrangements, and division of childcare responsibilities. Often, each spouse confers with their separate attorney as well, as a mediator cannot provide legal advice, either throughout the proceedings or just before finalization and execution of the agreement, to ensure that their interests have been sufficiently addressed.


Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative divorce is highly personalized and comprehensive, involving the use of professionals and experts to achieve the best outcome—as well as familial and personal harmony for both spouses and children of the marriage.

In a collaborative divorce, the spouses agree upon a team of experts in the realms of law, finance, accounting, psychology, child development, and more. This entire team is present for all meetings and negotiations, offering deep knowledge and advice for every aspect of marital dissolution and the family’s future. Once an agreement is reached, it is presented to the Court to finalize the divorce. Spouses who choose a collaborative divorce tend to rest easy, knowing they relied on multiple experts for an optimal outcome.

If you are considering divorce but want to avoid the time and expenses related to going to court, you have options. The attorneys at TNS Family Law can help determine whether a Mutual Consent Divorce, Divorce Mediation, or Collaborative Divorce are a good fit for you and your family’s circumstances.

For questions about divorce, please contact TNS Family Law at (410) 339-4100 or Our team of attorneys is here to help guide you.

Related Posts: 
5 Questions to Ask Before Hiring Your Divorce Attorney
What Are the Grounds For Absolute Divorce in Maryland?
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