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  • Consent to Have Case Heard by a Hearing Commissioner
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Marital Settlement Agreement
  • Child Support Guidelines Calculation
  • Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law
  • Joint Waiver of Appeal Rights

According to Max Blumenthal in the Daily Beast, former Republican Congressman Chip Pickering kept a secret diary in which he wrote about his extramarital affair with Elizabeth Creekmore Byrd at the infamous C Street House in Washington, D.C.

The judge would not allow the diary to be introduced at Pickering’s divorce hearing on July 7 and placed it under seal at the Mississippi courthouse.

However, Mrs. Pickering has filed an alienation of affection suit against Byrd, and it is possible that the diary may be made public in this lawsuit.  Apparently other members of congress and residents of the C Street House are worried about what Pickering had to say about them in his diary.

In an uncontested divorce case in Maryland, the plaintiff needs to appear in court to testify.  The Court of Appeals once issued a rule that allowed for summary judgment in divorce cases so no one would have to appear.  However, the Legislature felt that divorce should be treated as a more serious matter, and so it passed the following law in 1984:

Oral testimony required for final decree.  In an action for alimony, annulment, or divorce, a final decree may not be entered except on oral testimony by the plaintiff in a hearing before an examiner or a master or in open court.  MD Family Law Article, Section 1-203(c).

The defendant need only appear if he or she wants to do so. You will need to bring a witness with you to corroborate the facts of your divorce.

The judge has be certain of the proof before a divorce can be granted in Maryland.  In fact the law requires that the testimony of the plaintiff be corroborated by other evidence.

Section 7-101 of the Family Law Article states: “A court may not enter a decree of divorce on the uncorroborated testimony of the party who is seeking the divorce.”

That’s why we ask you to bring a copy of your marriage certificate and a witness to your uncontested divorce hearing.

The marriage certificate is corroborating evidence of your marriage.  If you don’t have a copy, you can also corroborate your marriage with the testimony of a witness who was present at the wedding.

The witness can corroborate residency, custody, the date of separation and that the separation was voluntary on the part of both parties for the year prior to filing the complaint, the usual grounds for uncontested divorce in Maryland.

Voluntary separation can also be corroborated by a Separation Agreement if (1) it states that the spouses voluntarily agreed to separate, and (2) it is executed under oath (i.e., notarized) before the divorce complaint is filed.  Section 8-104 of the Family Law Article.

Certain matters may be heard in Maryland courts by a Master instead of a Judge.  The Master then prepares written recommendations which include the Master’s findings and a proposed order.

Maryland Rule 9-208 provides a method for challenging the Master’s findings and recommendations.  Either party may file Exceptions in writing with the Clerk of the Court.  The Exceptions must set forth any asserted error with particularity.

You have only ten days from the Master’s findings and recommendations to file Exceptions.  You don’t count the day of the ruling, and if the tenth day falls on a weekend or holiday, you can file on the next business day.

A judge will hold a hearing on the Exceptions if you ask for one.  The Court will rule on the evidence presented to the Master.  The Court may also consider additional evidence if it decides to.

In uncontested divorces, the parties may forego their right to take Exceptions, by signing a Waiver, in order to expedite their decree of divorce.