To file a complaint for divorce, you have to have to cite a reason. These are known as as grounds for divorce in Maryland. They are listed in the Maryland Code.

The Code has both fault and no-fault grounds.   Fault grounds, such as adultery, desertion and cruelty, are factors the court must consider in determing alimony and distribution of property.

You may have, and plead, multiple grounds for divorce.  Or, like in the following case, the wife may plead one ground and the husband may plead another.  Who gets to pick the grounds on which the divorce is ultimately granted if more than one applies?

Mary and Timothy Welsh married in 1961.  Timothy had degrees in accounting and law and was licensed as a real estate agent.  Mary took care of the house and their four children.  They acquired a 22 acre property during the marriage.

Mary left Timothy in 1994 and filed for divorce based on adultery.  Timothy counterclaimed for divorce after two years of separation.

The trial court said that Mary failed to prove adultery but Timothy conceded it at trial.  Nonetheless, the trial court granted the divorce based on separation.

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals upheld the decision, stating that:

It is ultimately up to the court, based on its fact finding, to declare the grounds for divorce. It is not reasonable that the court be obligated to grant the divorce on the grounds requested when the judge is more persuaded that it is more likely than not that other grounds for the divorce are more justified.

Welsh v. Welsh; 135 Md.App. 29 (1999)

Question of the Day:  Will the government shutdown affect my divorce?

Answer:   No.  Although the federal government is partially shut down, divorce court is run by the state government.

If your spouse’s parents don’t like you is that grounds for divorce? Consider Kerry’s story.

Kline, a well-known family lawyer, couldn’t sleep past 5 am. So he was the first one in his law office Monday morning. He flipped on the lights and started checking email. Among the dozens of pitches from salespeople and scam artists, one from a young lady named Kerry caught his attention.

“My husband left me on Friday,” she said.  “He called me today and said he would like to get back together but his parents are against it and they want him to divorce me. Can he do that legally?”

Kline leaned back in this chair and looked at the ceiling.  “No,” he said. “You have to state your grounds for divorce in your complaint. Grounds are reasons for divorce. They are listed in the law. Parents don’t like me is not on the list.”

“What’s on the list?” Kerry asked.

“For Maryland?”


Kline recited the list:

  • One Year Separation
  • Adultery
  • Desertion
  • Conviction of a Felony or Misdemeanor
  • Insanity
  • Cruelty
  • Excessively Vicious Conduct
  • Mutual Consent

“Wow.  Thanks,” said Kerry.  “Now I’ll be able to sleep.”  Kline was wide awake as he filed her email under “Prospective Clients”.

The repair man came to fix the washing machine on Friday. He hooked his computer up to it and it told him that the pressure switch was faulty. He didn’t have a pressure switch on the van. So he went to pick one up.

On Saturday, the washing machine would not start. I called the repair man. This time his computer told him it need a new flow meter. He didn’t have one on the truck. He had to order it and it will be here Tuesday.

Eddie Murphy says he wishes there was a wife store where he could take his wife back and say, “My wife is broke.” I’m sure there are also wives out there who would like to bring their husbands back to the husband store. (My wife may be one of them.)

I guess I’m the closest thing to a new spouse store you can get. People come to me with marriages that don’t work. I wish I could fix them with a replacement part from the van. But it usually it takes a divorce.

“It’s either me or the dog,” a woman in Istanbul told her husband.  The husband had brought the dog and a parrot to their apartment.

“We have a baby at home,” she declared. We can’t take care of these animals too.”

The man refused to get rid of the animals.  The wife then moved into her parents’ apartment and filed for divorce.  She is seeking 100,000 Turkish Liras (about $22,000) and support for herself and the child.

Lawmakers are slowly making divorce easier in Maryland, but you still have to file a complaint with the court and go to a hearing to get a divorce.  Meanwhile, England and Wales have introduced digital divorces.  Couples can apply for divorce online with a few clicks, upload supporting documents and pay court fees.

Digital Divorces Satisfaction

During the test phase, over 90% of the people using the system said they were satisfied with it.

“It was marvelous, pain-free and less stressful than the paper form which I tried several years ago to complete but got fed up of it being rejected,” said Elaine Everett,

China is also experimenting with a trial program on WeChat, its most popular instant messaging service.  A divorce button allows people to make an appointment with the divorce registration office via the Internet.

Click the Easy Button

The downside is these systems make divorce only a click of the Easy Button.  “Couples might pull out of marriages much more easily and quickly than they otherwise would, states Dr. Sam Carr at the University of Bath. “This could be good – but it could also be bad in the sense that if we simply have to click our fingers to end our marriages, then how can we learn about, appreciate, understand, and grow from the trials and tribulations that all marriages inevitably have to face from time to time?”

One of my first tasks as a chemical engineer at the Procter & Gamble Company was to design a tank to hold a chemical called Toluene.  I had to calculate the parameters, like pressure, volume, and flammable temperature.  I was lucky to stumble upon an unused tank on the property that would work and save the company some money.

If someone asked me at a cocktail party what I did for a living, and I said I was a chemical engineer, they would inevitably ask, “What’s a chemical engineer?”

I explained it like this.  When a chemist makes an aspirin tablet in his laboratory, he mixes some chemicals in a beaker, heats it over a Bunsen burner, and dries it in a centrifuge.   If a company wants to manufacture 10.000 aspirin, they hire a chemical engineer to scale up the beaker to a tank, the Bunsen burner to an industrial heater, the centrifuge to a bigger centrifuge.  He will also spec some conveyor belts to move the chemicals through the equipment.

This all changed when I became a divorce lawyer. Now if I’m at a party and mention that I’m a divorce lawyer, I soon have 20 people around me saying, “Let me tell you about my divorce.”

I never been able to reconcile my engineering degree with my law practice, although I feel there is a connection.  But yesterday, on the news, some pundant referred to lawyers as legal engineers.  Yes, that’s it.  When someone comes to me with a divorce, I calculate the parameters, and design a solution that works. I am a legal engineer.

Eighty-five percent of workers worldwide, in an anonymous Gallup poll , said they hated their jobs.

I was talking to opposing counsel last week who told me that after 30 plus years of practicing divorce law, she was going to try something else.  She said that the parties were more unreasonable, lawyers were meaner and courts were harsher than when she started and she had reached the end of her patience.  She asked me if I was burned out too.

I told her that I wasn’t.  I see my work as much more than the tasks required in any particular case.  My purpose in life, the reason I am here on earth, is to help people untangle the difficulties they have gotten themselves into, solve problems and sort everything out into good order.

This works for other jobs as well.  My wife supervises the front office of a plastic surgery center.  I told her that her purpose in life was to help people look their best, add beauty to the world and make people happier.  Try reframing your job in the comments below.

Guest Post by Sarah Jones

When the relationship starts to break down, all the abuse at home – verbal and physical, tension, and negative emotions are felt by the whole household, including your dogs! Divorce is a stressful and painful process. All the changes at home resulting in the absence of one parent can be unsettling and negatively affects your dogs.


Remember that time both of you were giddy to get a dog as a “practice baby”? You both decided to take the responsibility of raising the dog to be part of the family. When the relationship ends up in divorce, some irresponsible pet parents abandon the dog because no one wants to take custody of it.

Canine Depression and Separation Anxiety

Long-term absence of one or both pet parents can lead to separation anxiety and canine depression. Because of this, your dog may exhibit unusual behaviors such as loss of appetite due to anxiety, lethargy, anxiety, and even aggression.

Physical and Mental Well-being

Even if both of you decide to share custody of your dog, the changes in the house and the habits your dog is used to still have an effect on the physical and mental well being of your dog.


Divorce disrupts the life of both your kids and dogs. Huge adjustments in the routine or schedule should be made. It would take some time for your beloved pet to get used to the new schedule of feeding, playing, and walking. Your dog’s schedule changes weekly because of transferring homes to be with the other parent.

The Stress of Moving Homes

Divorce will either drive one of you to move to a new home or both of you to move to a different state. The strange environment may confuse your dog and cause anxiety.

How to Help Your Dog Cope with Divorce

Your relationship may be hopeless, but you can still improve your dog’s condition and help it cope with divorce. If you notice a loss of appetite, try to change your dog’s diet by feeding them healthy, nutritious dog food. Coordinate schedules with your ex and retrain your dog if you must to establish consistency.  This guide explains how to fix ten common dog behavior problems.

According to experts, separation anxiety can actually be avoided. If you and your partner trained your dog to get used to being alone without panicking or showing aggression while you are gone, chances are, your dog will be fine with your absence. Do not worry. Things will eventually get better. If it doesn’t get better; you can always seek the help of your veterinary doctor or a behaviorist.

If you need help to cope with your divorce, your dog needs help, too. You can both get through this rough patch in your life together, and be stronger. Your love for your spouse may have changed, but hopefully, your love for the rest of the family, including your dogs, never stops.

There is a lesson to be learned from the Soprovich divorce. Jason Soprovich, a real estate agent in Canada, married Monica Thiessen 17 years ago.  Jason was very successful and they lived a luxurious lifestyle during those 17 years.

They were members of expensive country clubs, and their children have always gone to private school. The family took annual trips to Hawaii, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

Jason’s real estate firm made more than $13 million over the last seven years and earned almost $3 million in 2016.

Then the parties separated and filed for divorce.  You guessed it.  In 2017, Jason made $1 million.

Jason argued “that the real estate market slowed down from 2016 to 2017 and is likely to slow further down in 2018.”  The decline was a result of government regulation, taxes and higher interest rates he told the court.

The judge said “I accept that the respondent has reason to be pessimistic about the real estate market and hence his income,” But, she explained, “It is reasonable to assume that much of the impact of the changes to the real estate market referred to by the respondent has been reflected in the market by now.”

She ordered Jason to pay $12,318 a month in interim child support and $22,960 in spousal support while the couple tries to work out a settlement.