“We have irreconcilable differences,” is simply a polite way to put it.

It might keep family and friends from asking too many questions, but it likely won’t pass as legal grounds for divorce in a Maryland court. There, you need more tangible evidence, such as:


Perhaps you caught him in bed with another woman. Maybe you noticed her flirting and spending a lot of time alone with that other guy. If you have reason to suspect adultery, you might have grounds for divorce.

First, you or your Maryland divorce lawyer must either prove that the incident happened or that your spouse had both the disposition (romantic attitude) and opportunity (time alone) with the other person.

However, if you and your spouse had sexual relations after the suspected incident, then a Maryland divorce court will consider that action as “forgiveness” and deny your request for divorce.


If your spouse is currently married to another person, regardless of the circumstances surrounding his or her failure to get a divorce, that is considered bigamy and is grounds for a legal divorce in Maryland.

Cruelty or Excessively Vicious Conduct

Both physical abuse and mental abuse (such as controlling behavior) are grounds for divorce. This typically refers to ongoing abuse, not one isolated instance. However, a court might grant a divorce based on one instance if it is obvious that your spouse intended to harm you or your child.

Desertion or Abandonment

If you haven’t seen or heard from your spouse in at least one year, and it’s obvious he or she is not returning, then the court may consider this desertion and grant you a divorce.

You may also be able to get a divorce based on “constructive desertion,” which refers to one of two specific situations:

  • Your spouse’s actions have forced you to leave the home for your own safety (for example, abuse).
  • Your spouse has ended sexual relations with you for a period of at least one consecutive year.

Felony or Misdemeanor Conviction

If your spouse was convicted of a crime, sentenced to at least three years in jail, and has already served at least one year in prison, then you have grounds for an absolute (permanent) divorce.


“She’s insane!” you think to yourself. “He must be mad!” you mutter under your breath.

A temporary lapse of judgment is one thing; ongoing mental instability is another. A judge may grant you a divorce if your spouse has been committed for incurable (according to a doctor’s diagnosis) insanity for a period of at least three years.

And Yes, Voluntary Separation

OK, so maybe you can’t claim any of the more obvious reasons for divorce, such as stated above. However, if you and your spouse agreed to live in separate houses and have done so for the past year with no sign of reconciliation, this too can be considered a reason for a divorce in Maryland.

For help determining what purpose for divorce you should pursue, contact the skilled Maryland divorce attorneys of Nickelsporn and Lundin at 1-800-875-9700.