Corroborating Witness No Longer Required for Maryland Divorce

If you are seeking a divorce in Maryland it might surprise you to learn that up until October 1, 2016 couples were required to have a corroborating witness testify as to their divorce grounds. To get a divorce based on a 12-month separation the corroborating witness would have to testify in court that the divorcing couple had not spent even one night together or resumed marital relations in those last 12 months. If they had done either of those things the couple could not get a divorce and would have to start over. One problem with the corroborating witness requirement, at least for a divorce based on a 12-month separation, was that it was impossible for a witness to truly know that a couple had been separate and apart as the witness did not have the couple under 24-hour surveillance. Section (B) of Maryland Family Law Sec. 7-101 was deleted and eliminated the requirement that a corroborating witness testify.

The change in Maryland divorce law effectively made it easier for couples to get divorced. Some argued against the change, as a matter of public policy, as it made it easier for couples to divorce and discouraged attempts at reconciliation. However, the change is consistent with Maryland’s recent efforts to make it easier to get divorced including recently adding a no-fault ground for divorce based on just a mutual agreement between the couple resolving all their marital issues.

About Tim Leahy

Timothy P. Leahy, a partner at the firm, practices law in Maryland and the District of Columbia and is a member of the American, Maryland, D.C, and Prince George’s County Bar associations. He received his J.D., cum laude, from the University of Baltimore Law School in May 2000, earned his M.B.A. in 1993 at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, and his B.S. in Transportation & Logistics at Maryland in 1990. Timothy brings over 10 years experience in business to his practice of the law and focuses on litigation and general practice matters. A former home improvement contractor and army reservist, he volunteers with Christmas in April and has coached for the Bowie Boys & Girls Club. He is a Board member of his homeowners association, pro bono counsel for Bowie CLAW, and a volunteer Mediator for the District Court of Maryland. Timothy moved to Bowie in 1982 and lives there with his wife of 24 years and two sons.
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