Legal Blog

Mutual Consent Legislation

It will likely become easier for parents to get divorced in Maryland if they are able to settle the issues between them as of October 1, 2018. In 2015, it became possible for spouses with no minor children to get divorced without the previous one-year separation period if they met the statutory requirements, which included a signed separation agreement resolving all issues arising out of the marriage. This session, the Maryland General Assembly approved legislation that would allow parents of minor children to obtain a divorce under similar circumstances, without a one-year separation period. The bill is waiting for the signature of Governor Larry Hogan.  If Governor Hogan signs the bill, it will take effect on October 1, 2018.

Opponents of divorce will likely say that it is important for parents to reflect on whether they truly want a divorce during the one-year separation period. In my experience, however, prolonging the process that allows parents to divorce and construct a different future for their family adds to the anxiety for the children. There is a wealth of research that supports the conclusion that exposing children to conflict between parents is harmful to them. Parents have an incentive to settle earlier and complete the legal process if there isn’t a one-year separation period. Families are usually best served by focusing on the future, rather than the failings of their soon to be ex-spouse, and should focus on how to resolve the issues and reach the next step allows parents to do just that.  Divorce may not be the societal ideal, but if allowing the divorce to proceed on a more expedited timeline will reduce conflict between the parents, then surely that would benefit the children much more than forcing parents to remain married for a year – just to make sure they really want to get divorced.


Please contact Catherine H. “Kate” McQueen to discuss your family law issues in Maryland at (240) 507-1718 or


ABOUT KATE MCQUEEN | 240-507-1718

Catherine H. “Kate” McQueen is a family lawyer and principal in Offit Kurman’s Bethesda office and is licensed to practice in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Ms. McQueen focuses her practice on the many legal issues that impact families, including all the issues arising out of a divorce, such as custody, child support, alimony, and other financial and property issues. She also has extensive experience in guardianship matters for children and incapacitated adults, including assisting clients in petitioning for guardianship, serving as court-appointed counsel for alleged disabled persons, and serving as court-appointed guardian for individuals when their family members or friends are unwilling or unable to do so.






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