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Maryland legislature takes hard look at archaic divorce laws

Going through a divorce is hard enough on people after you consider the emotional struggles couples face and the overwhelming burden of dividing assets and liabilities. But what truly makes divorce a challenge for Maryland residents is a law most people don't know exists until they have to face it during divorce proceedings.

We're talking about Md. Code, Family Law ยง 7-101; and while it might seem innocuous, it can create a major inconvenience for couples trying to divorce. That's because the law requires couples, no matter what grounds are established, to bring a witness to support their claim for divorce. To many, this law is not only cumbersome but archaic as well, which is exactly what some Maryland politicians brought up recently to the state legislature.

As some of our Gaithersburg readers may have heard, a proposal was made recently to get rid of the law. Once gone, divorcing couples in our state would be free from the burden of having to ask a friend or family member to get involved in what should otherwise be a private event.

Though some believe getting rid of the law would allow people to scam the system, some people who are involved in family law proceedings in our state say that the witness requirement itself is the problem because, in some situations, it forces witnesses to lie about a friend or loved one's situation in order to help them get on with the divorce process as well as their lives.

Unfortunately, as the Baltimore Sun points out, the governor will not take any position on the issue until the Assembly passes the proposed legislation to end the witness requirement for divorces in our state. Now, only time will tell whether we see this archaic law stay or go, as many believe it should.

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