The Baltimore Sun recently reported that Baltimore’s former mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has filed for divorce from her husband Kent Blake. The couple filed the documents in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City on April 10thand did so using the 12-month separation as their grounds. The couple married back in October 2000 and allegedly have been living separately since March 27, 2017. Rawlings-Blake is said to be living in Baltimore now and Blake is residing in Columbia. Because the two have a 15-year-old daughter together, they were required to live separately for at least a year timespan in order to file for the divorce.

Do all couples have to wait a year before they can file for divorce in Baltimore, MD?

If you’re wondering whether all couples are subjected to this 12-month separation period prior to them being able to file for divorce, the answer is no. However, there may be other grounds you must meet before a judge will grant you a divorce which is why it is always a good idea to meet with a knowledgeable divorce attorney in Baltimore, MD before submitting anything.
Now, the first thing you need to be aware of is that in order to obtain an absolute divorce, “one spouse must first prove that at least one “ground”, which is a legally accepted reason, exists. There are also two types of grounds, a “no-fault” ground for divorce and grounds based on the “fault” of a spouse. Individuals who file a “no-fault” divorce do not need to prove that their spouse committed any form of misconduct and are likely going to be subjected to the 12-month, uninterrupted, separation period. These are couples who do not qualify to file based on mutual consent.
Now, couples who are filing a “no-fault” divorce using the mutual consent ground may be granted a divorce without having to meet the waiting period requirement only if:

  • The parties do not have any minor children in common.
    If you have minor children together with your spouse and wish to file a “no-fault” divorce in Baltimore, you will be subjected to living apart for 12 months before you can actually file.


  • The parties execute and submit to the court a written settlement agreement signed by both parties that resolves all issues relating to alimony and the distribution of property.


  • Neither party files a pleading to set aside the settlement agreement prior to the divorce hearing required under the Maryland Rules; and


  • Both appear before the court for the absolute divorce hearing.

[Source: The People’s Law Library of Maryland].
The reason Rawlings-Blake and her soon-to-be ex-husband had to live a year apart from one another is because they had a minor child together. And had they moved back in together at any point, even if were for a short period of time, that would have reset their time spent apart. The courts only consider a couple to be separated for a year if they aren’t living together for that entire period or having sexual relations.
Now, if you and your spouse are considering filing for divorce in Baltimore and wish to learn more about what requirements you must meet and what grounds you qualify to use to support your divorce, contact today. We can connect you with a local Baltimore, MD divorce lawyer who can provide you with the information you are seeking and even represent you throughout the divorce process.

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