Abuse messes with every aspect of a person’s psyche. It can leave the victim damaged physically, mentally, and emotionally. It can leave a person unable to function normally.

When abuse is present in a Maryland marriage, a divorce may very well be necessary. There are three grounds for a divorce that may be used specifically in cases where domestic abuse in Maryland is present:

1. Cruelty

In general, cruelty refers to any action that is done with the express purpose of doing physical, emotional, or mental harm to the other person. This can include a variety of actions, including:

  • Controlling behavior
  • Isolation from family and friends
  • Taunting
  • Violence
  • Threats of violence

2. Vicious Conduct

Excessively vicious conduct typically refers to ongoing physical violence. However, one single act that inflicts serious bodily harm may be enough to request a divorce. Vicious conduct is grounds for an immediate, absolute divorce.

3. Constructive Abandonment

This is different from desertion or voluntary separation, both of which can be causes for a Maryland divorce after a one-year separation. 

Constructive abandonment refers specifically to a situation in which the spouse’s behavior, often abusive, has forced the applicant to leave for his or her own safety. However, it too usually requires a one-year waiting period before an absolute divorce will be granted.

If you or someone you love is the victim of an abusive marriage, this is a serious and potentially dangerous situation. You have every right to request a divorce and every right to hire a lawyer to protect your rights and safety.

You should talk to an experienced Maryland divorce lawyer who can help you determine which grounds for divorce best fit your situation. For more information, call Nickelsporn & Lundin at 1-800-875-9700, or fill out our online form.

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