Law Office of Thomas K. Brown, LLC

Immigration and Family Law in Maryland

Japan Finally Signs Hague Convention on Child Abduction

The Japan Times reports here that Japan has ratified the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction.  I’ve personally been involved in a case that touched on parental abduction of a child to Japan.  Once implemented, the Hague Convention should make returning children a more streamlined process.

June 22nd, 2013 Posted by | family law | no comments

Common Questions: Grounds for Divorce in Maryland

One of the topics I often explain, typically during initial consultations, is under what circumstances will a Maryland court grant a divorce.  I thought it might be helpful if I posted here the very few grounds there are.  Referring to the Maryland Family Law Article section 7-103, they are:

  1. Adultery.
  2. Desertion.
  3. Conviction of a Crime with a Sentence of 3 years (or an indeterminate sentence).
  4. 12-month Separation.
  5. Insanity.
  6. Cruelty of Treatment to Spouse or Minor Child.
  7. Excessevily Vicious Conduct Toward Spouse or Minor Child.

That’s it.  Number 4 above is referred to as a no-fault divorce as it does not require a showing of misconduct on anyone’s part.  Until recently there were two flavors fo no-fault divorce based on how the separation occurred.  If it was voluntary by both parties, the term of separation need only be 1 year.  If it was involuntary as to any party, it’s 2 years.  The Maryland State Legislature recently collapsed these two into a single ground — 12 month separation — with no showing of voluntariness at all.

The rest are fault-based grounds.  Some party is at fault (well, insanity isn’t exactly someone’s fault).  Note that 2, above — Desertion — requires a period of separation of 1 year or more prior to filing.  Similarly, 3 — conviction of a crime with a 3+ year prison sentence — requires that 12 months of that sentence to have already been served.

There are some other requirements to each of these grounds, and this is not an exhaustive discussion of each, naturally.  But I find that often clients are surprised by the requirements Maryland has for obtaining an absolute divorce.  Other states may have more grounds (or less, for example, by eliminating fault-based grounds altogether), or have lesser requirements (e.g., 6 month separation rather than 12).

April 19th, 2011 Posted by | family law | no comments