Divorces are often emotionally and financially draining. When under such intense stress, it can seem impossible to navigate the complex legal landscape. Here is a quick guide to get you started.

Washington, D.C.

See DC code § 16-901 – § 16-924

What Are the Divorce Laws In DC?

D.C. allows for two options:

  1. Legal Separation: This is not a divorce, but a legal right to live apart, with the rights and obligations of divorced persons. Those who get a legal separation cannot remarry.
  2. Divorce: After a divorce, both parties are able to remarry.

What Are Grounds for Divorce?

D.C. requires the same grounds for divorce as Washington DC Metropolitan Area.


See Md. Family Law Code Ann. § 7-103

What Are the Divorce Laws In Maryland?

Like Washington DC Metropolitan Area, Maryland divides divorce into two categories:

  1. Limited Divorce

    This is for couples who are separated by may not meet the legal requirements for a divorce, or while they are pursuing an absolute divorce.

  2. Absolute Divorce

    An absolute divorce completely dissolves the marriage. Recognized reasons to get an absolute divorce include adultery, desertion, cruelty or abuse, some criminal convictions and insanity.

What Are Grounds For Divorce

Grounds For Absolute Divorce

Two Year SeparationIf two individuals have lived separately for two years. In order to use this as a grounds for divorce, the separated couple cannot have had sexual intercourse or have spent a night under the same roof in two years.
Voluntary SeparationIf the couple have lived separately, without spending a single night together, without having sexual intercourse together, and with the express purpose of ending the marriage, for at least twelve months, this can be used as grounds for divorce.
AdulteryThis can be used as a grounds for divorce if you can prove that your spouse has had voluntary intercourse with another individual.
DesertionIf your spouse has left you for at least twelve months, and you have not had sexual relations in this time, you may choose this as grounds for divorce.
Cruelty to you or a minor childIf your spouse is a danger to you or your child, and you have no reasonable hope of reconciliation, you may cite this as a reason for divorce.