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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)

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 ae 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?”

“Yes.”

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 Maryland legislature added Mutual Consent as grounds for divorce for couples without minor children in 2015 to allow divorce without a waiting period if the parties had a written agreement.  Section 7-103 of the Family Law Article of the Maryland Code.

Now the legislature has added couples with minor children to the statute so long as (a) a Maryland Child Support Guidelines Worksheet is attached to the Agreement if the Agreement provides for child support, and (b) the court finds the sections of the Agreement with respect to the children are in the best interests of those children.

The law, if not vetoed by the Governor, will take effect October 1, 2018.

“We had a traditional arranged marriage, I only knew him for two months before the wedding and never noticed how stingy he was,” said Sameeha, an Egyptian woman.  “During the first week of our marriage, he told me that he hates going out anywhere because that would be a waste of money.”

During those first two months of marriage, Sameeha asked her husband to take her out somewhere. While they were out, she asked him to buy her a shawarma, which is a chicken wrap sandwich.

He told her he that he already bought her juice and that’s it. He said that she was trying to exploit his wealth.

Sameeha filed a complaint for divorce.

 

 

Yagmur of Istanbul, Turkey, married Barak two years ago.  But she discovered during the marriage that he was always spending time cleaning or fixing his bicycle in the middle of the living room..

“This is not an ordinary attachment, he is literally in love with the bike,” said Yagmur, claiming that her husband had abandoned her for his bicycle.

She filed for divorce and demanded 400,000 Turkish lira (about $100,000 US Dollars) in compensation, for the negative effect her husband’s bicycle obsession has had on her mental health and her life.

To get a divorce, you have to have one of the reasons spelled out in the law.  These are call grounds for divorce.  One of the grounds for divorce in Maryland, for example, is cruelty and excessively vicious conduct.  California has irreconcilable differences.  And England calls it behaviour.

The Daily Express reports that in the past, unreasonable behavior usually meant money problems or drinking too much.  But the definition has expanded in modern times.  Here are the top unreasonable behaviours in England today:

  1. Partner’s illness
  2. Snoring
  3. Going to the gym too much
  4. Being ungrateful for all the work their partner does
  5. Being hopeless with money
  6. Disagreement over respective politics
  7. Food fanaticisms
  8. Fishing
  9. Sex – either not enough, being offered too much, or loss of interest
  10. Suspicion other party messing around
  11. One partner wants to travel, the other doesn’t
  12. The party puts their mother before their spouse
  13. Spending too much time online or on the phone
  14. Not helping with children
  15. Refusing to to give up smoking

 

This morning my wife alerted me to an article in Harpers Bazzar last week called “If You Are Married to a Trump Supporter, Divorce Them” by Jennifer Wright.

“Supporting Trump at this point does not indicate a difference of opinions,” my wife said quoting the author. “It indicates a difference of values.”

“The problem is,” I replied, ”my spouse voted for Trump is not grounds for divorce in DC, Maryland or Virginia.

by James J. Gross

An Italian man claimed in his divorce that his wife was possessed by the devil and could levitate.

According to an article by Jon Lockett in the Sun, the woman’s’ sister, a priest and a monk were witnesses to her floating off the ground and they also said she also threw a church pew at the alter with just one hand.

The judge granted a no-fault divorce to the pair based on one year separation.

 

 

In Algeria, we hear that a woman has filed for divorce after three months of marriage because her husband will not shave his moustache.

I guess she has never heard the old French idiom:

“Un baiser sans moustache est comme un œuf sans sel!”

(“A kiss without a moustache is like an egg without salt!”)

Do you have grounds for divorce if you find your spouse among the 37 million hacked users of Ashley Madison, the dating website for married people looking to cheat?

In DC, the answer is no. There are only two grounds for divorce in DC — six months voluntary separation or twelve months involuntary separation. But the court must still consider marital fault, among other factors, in deciding alimony and property distribution.

Maryland and Virginia have fault and no-fault grounds for divorce. Adultery is a fault ground in both states. Using Ashley Madison by itself does not prove your spouse has committed adultery. But it is probably enough to plead adultery in a complaint for divorce. Then you have to obtain the evidence. You can use then use the court discovery rules to ask your spouse directly. Your spouse must answer under oath and penalties of perjury.

Your spouse may take the Fifth Amendment but the divorce court is allowed to presume this means that adultery was committed. And some spouses will lie. In addition, Maryland and Virginia require corroboration of the adultery by independent evidence. So you may still have to hire a private investigator to follow your spouse.

Despite what you see in the movies, the private eye doesn’t usually burst into the hotel room with a camera. You can use circumstantial evidence to prove adultery with inclination and opportunity.
The testimony for inclination might be, “I saw them holding hands at dinner and watched them go into a hotel.”

For opportunity, the detective would say, “I put a chalk mark on the tire of the car in the parking lot and it was in the same place when I returned in the morning.”