Common Reasons for Divorce in Maryland – Guide

Marriage is a significant life milestone that comes with its own set of challenges. Unfortunately, not all marriages are successful, and divorce is a reality that many couples face.

Maryland, like other states, has its own set of common reasons for divorce that contribute to the high rate of divorce in the state. Understanding these reasons can help couples address potential issues and take steps to prevent marital breakdown.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Maryland has a divorce rate of 2.9 per 1,000 population, which is slightly lower than the national average of 3.2 per 1,000 population.

However, it is essential to note that divorce rates can vary widely depending on factors such as age, education level, and socioeconomic status. In Maryland, divorce rates tend to be higher among younger couples, those with lower levels of education, and those with lower incomes.

Additionally, certain counties in Maryland have higher divorce rates than others, with Baltimore County having the highest divorce rate in the state. While Maryland’s divorce rate is slightly lower than the national average, divorce remains a common occurrence in the state, with many couples experiencing the challenges and complexities of marital breakdown.

If you are contemplating divorce, we recommend contacting our experienced divorce attorneys to help you navigate the complex legal process. Here, you can learn about some of Maryland’s most common causes of divorce.



Infidelity is among the most common reasons for divorce in Maryland, as in many other states. The betrayal of trust and breach of the marital contract that infidelity represents can be difficult for couples to overcome.

In addition to the emotional pain and hurt caused by the affair, infidelity can also damage the foundation of the relationship and make it difficult for couples to rebuild their bond.

Infidelity can also be a symptom of other underlying issues in the relationship, such as lack of communication or emotional distance, which can further contribute to marital breakdown. In Maryland, as in other states, infidelity can be grounds for divorce, and many couples ultimately choose to end their marriage due to the impact of an affair.

While some couples can work through infidelity and rebuild their relationship, the damage is too significant for many others, and divorce is the only option.

Communication Issues

Communication is the cornerstone of any healthy relationship, including marriage. When couples struggle with communication issues, it can significantly strain their relationship and make it difficult to resolve conflicts or work through challenges together.

In Maryland, communication issues are a common reason for divorce because they can lead to frustration, anger, and resentment, ultimately eroding the emotional connection between partners.

Communication issues can take many forms, including lack of effective communication, miscommunication, or avoiding difficult conversations altogether. Over time, unresolved communication issues can lead to feelings of isolation and distance between partners, making it increasingly difficult for them to find common ground or reach a mutually beneficial resolution.

If these issues persist, couples may decide divorce is their best option.

Money Problems


Financial issues can be a significant source of stress and tension in a relationship, particularly when couples have different spending habits, goals, or financial responsibility levels.

In Maryland, money problems can lead to divorce when couples cannot communicate about their finances effectively or have fundamental disagreements about managing their money.

For example, suppose one partner is a spender, and the other is a saver. In that case, this can lead to ongoing conflicts and resentment, particularly if one partner feels their financial goals are not being respected or supported by the other.

Money problems can also lead to divorce in cases of financial infidelity, where one partner hides debt, overspends, or otherwise engages in financially dishonest behavior. This can erode trust between partners and make it difficult for them to maintain a healthy relationship.

Substance Abuse

Substance abuse is a common issue that can lead to divorce. It can take many forms, including alcoholism, drug addiction, and prescription medication abuse. When one partner struggles with substance abuse, it can have a significant impact on the relationship, including:

  • Trust issues: Substance abuse can lead to a breach of trust between partners, particularly if the addicted partner engages in dishonest behavior or becomes emotionally or physically abusive.
  • Financial problems: Substance abuse can be expensive, and couples may struggle with the financial burden of addiction, creating additional stress and tension in the relationship.
  • Communication breakdown: Substance abuse can interfere with effective communication. The addicted partner may become withdrawn or hostile, making it difficult for couples to communicate effectively or work through issues together.
  • Neglect: When one partner is struggling with substance abuse, they may neglect their responsibilities in the relationship, including household chores, parenting, or emotional support, which can create additional strain on the relationship.

Over time, substance abuse can erode the foundation of the relationship and make it difficult for couples to maintain a healthy, supportive partnership.

Requirements to File for Divorce in Maryland


Specific laws and requirements must be met to file for divorce in Maryland. Here are the essential laws to keep in mind:

  • Residency requirement: A spouse must have lived in Maryland for at least one year before filing for divorce.
  • Grounds for divorce: Maryland allows for both fault-based and no-fault divorce. Fault-based grounds include adultery, cruelty, and desertion, while no-fault grounds include living separately for at least one year or mutual consent.
  • Property division: Maryland is an “equitable distribution” state, which means that marital property is divided fairly, but not necessarily equally, between spouses. Marital property includes assets acquired during the marriage, while separate property, such as gifts or inheritances, is not subject to division.
  • Child custody and support: In Maryland, child custody is determined based on the child’s best interests. Child support is calculated using a formula based on the incomes of both parents and the number of children.
  • Spousal support: Spousal support, also known as alimony, may be awarded based on factors such as the length of the marriage, the financial needs of the spouse, and the ability of the other spouse to pay.

To file for divorce in Maryland, one spouse must file a complaint for divorce in the circuit court in the county where either spouse lives. The complaint must include information about the grounds for divorce, property division, child custody and support, and spousal support.

If both spouses agree on all issues, they can file for an uncontested divorce, which is a faster and less expensive option. It is highly recommended that anyone considering divorce in Maryland consult with a qualified Maryland family law attorney to ensure they understand the applicable laws and their rights throughout the divorce process.