Proving Spousal Misconduct in Maryland as Grounds for Divorce

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Proving Spousal Misconduct in Maryland as Grounds for Divorce

The end of a marriage can be a very painful experience, especially if your spouse has been unfaithful. It is understandable that you would want to cut ties with this person as quickly as possible, and begin to rebuild your life.

However, in the state of Maryland, it may be an entire year before your divorce is granted if you are unable to prove your spouse’s misconduct. Depending on your reason for the divorce, and the evidence you have gathered, you may be required to spend 12 months separated from your partner before being legally granted a divorce.

Acceptable grounds for divorce

In the state of Maryland, at least one spouse must have at minimum of one ground, or legal reason, for the divorce. These grounds can include

  • Adultery
  • Desertion
  • Vicious conduct
  • Conviction
  • As well as other instances of misconduct…

However, your divorce lawyer will need to provide very clear evidence in order to prove the misconduct to the courts if the twelve-month separation period is to be waived.

A word about “no-fault” divorce

The twelve-month separation period is required if the divorce is considered to be a “no fault” divorce. If your spouse has been unfaithful, you have a “fault” ground for an absolute divorce, only if you can support your claims with evidence that will satisfy the Maryland state requirements. In order to do so, you must be able to concretely prove that the offending spouse had both the disposition and the opportunity to participate in extramarital intercourse.  Click here to learn more about catching a cheating spouse.

The burden of proof

Evidence showing that the offender had the disposition to be adulterous would prove that the spouse in question showed signs of affection to a third party. This can be evidence that the spouse is clearly kissing, embracing, or holding the hand of another person.

Today, a private investigator can help spouses collect photo, video, or even digital communication data to prove that the offending spouse had an adulterous disposition.  These types of digital investigations are becoming the norm in our fast paced, digital world.

Along with the proof of adulterous disposition, it is essential to be able to prove that the offending spouse had the opportunity to be unfaithful. This means the spouse spent a considerable amount of time alone with the other person. The spouse must be clearly documented entering a private space: a home or hotel room possibly, for a significant amount of time with the other person. If the spouse is videotaped entering a hotel with another person for a few hours in the middle of the afternoon, for example, this can be solid evidence of opportunity for adultery.

It is crucial that all evidence be collected in a professional and completely legal manner. Any individuals interested in proving spousal misconduct should enlist the help of trained investigative professionals.