Only the court can give you a divorce. The first step in a divorce proceeding is the preparation and filing of a Complaint. The legal document that starts the proceeding is entitled “Complaint for Absolute Divorce”. The Complaint states the grounds for divorce and the vital statistics of the parties and the marriage.

It also covers certain technical matters and asks the court for anything you might want. If you and your spouse cannot agree on something (support, custody, visitation, property division, attorney’s fees, court costs) then you must ask the court for it in the petition or the court cannot give it to you. If the list seems long, or if it includes more than you want, think of it as a wish list.

If the wording seems strange, remember that it is a formal legal document and much of the wording is required by law. Here is a Maryland Complaint for Absolute Divorce in PDF format.

3 replies
  1. James J. Gross
    James J. Gross says:

    You don’t need to be separated to have a Separation Agreement. Also, search for the “Ricketts” case on this blog.

  2. Michael
    Michael says:

    I have been married for 15+ years and have 3 children. My wife is a stay home mom and has been an alcoholic for the last 6+ years. She drinks vodka straight from the bottle and is passed out drunk by 7:00pm on average 3 times a week. She is to the point of denial where she will drive the kids and herself drunk however she has never been caught. She won’t move out and I cant move out and leave her there with the kids. I have been looking into Divorce for over a year now but keep being told I have to move out for a year first. I cant move out and leave the kids in the house and I dont want to take the kids to a small appartment for a year. I have talked to a lawyer who works in my building and she says I have no options. Is there anyway to file for a divorce without having to move out? I sleep in the spare room. We live in Balt. County, MD.

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