Researching Divorce Law

Statutes

Divorce law is mainly governed by state statutes. In Maryland, the official source for the state statutes is the Annotated Code of Maryland. All Maryland law libraries and many Maryland public libraries (see SAILOR, Maryland's Online Public Information Network sponsored by Maryland public libraries) carry the Annotated Code of Maryland in print. For your convenience, this guide provides links to Maryland's family law statutes in a free web database maintained by Westlaw. Keep in mind, however, that the print version may be more useful in your research because it provides case summaries and citations that have interpreted each statute. The free web version does not give summaries of case law.

Links to the Code of Maryland: Citations to selected Maryland Family law statutes:

Court Rules & Court Information

The Maryland court rules applying in divorce law cases are found in Title 9. The print version of the court rules, like the print version of the statutes, has the advantage of providing case summaries that interpret the rules.

The five largest Circuit Court jurisdictions in Maryland (Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Montgomery County, and Prince George's County) have Family Divisions that strive to provide a fair and efficient forum to resolve family legal matters in a problem-solving manner. The Division’s  goal is to improve the lives of families and children who appear before the court. In Maryland's smaller cities and counties, Family Services Programs set in place to serve the same purposes. For more information on the Maryland Judiciary's Family Divisions and Family Services Programs, see the Maryland Judiciary Department of Family Administration home page.

Cases

Because divorce law is largely a matter of statute, you will probably want to look for cases that interpret Maryland's family law statutes. The easiest way to do this is to find the statutes that apply to your situation in the Annotated Code of Maryland, then look at the following case summaries. You can find additional cases by reading books that explain Maryland divorce law and noting the cases they cite. See "Books for More Help" below for a list of books to get you started. Another method of finding cases is to search the Maryland Digest, which is a subject index to Maryland case law.

Forms

  • The Maryland Judiciary's Domestic Relations Forms page.
  • Maryland Domestic Relations Forms, with Practice Commentary / Ann M. Turnbull and Joseph J. Wase. New York: Lexis Publishing, 2000. This and the other books listed below are available in many law libraries. Check your local law library's catalog for availability.
  • Maryland Practice Forms, 6th ed. /LaKeecia Allen ... [et al.] ; Baltimore, Md.: Young Lawyers Section, Maryland State Bar Association, 2009.

Books for More Help

The resources below may help you to understand Maryland family law. Keep in mind, however, that books explaining the law are no substitute for the law itself. You should always verify what the authors of these books say about the law by looking up the statutes, cases, and regulations the books cite. Some of these books may also include sample forms.

  • Maryland Divorce & Separation Law / edited by Daniel F. Thomas. Baltimore, Md. : MICPEL, 2009.
  • Fader's Maryland Family Law /  Cynthia Callahan, Thomas C. Ries. New Providence, NJ, 2011.
  • Equitable Distribution in Divorce Settlements in Maryland : Valuation, Tax and Other Issues / Theodore W. Hirsh, Kristine Kappeler Howanski, Julie Ellen Landau. Eau Claire, WI : National Business Institute, 2000.
  • Divorce & Money / Attorney Violet Woodhouse, Victoria Felton-Collins. Berkeley, CA : Nolo Press, 2011.

Source
This section developed by Sara Kelley, Librarian, Georgetown University Law Library
Is this legal advice?

This site offers legal information, not legal advice.  We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information and to clearly explain your options.  However we do not provide legal advice - the application of the law to your individual circumstances. For legal advice, you should consult an attorney.  The Maryland State Law Library, a court-related agency of the Maryland Judiciary, sponsors this site.  In the absence of file-specific attribution or copyright, the Maryland State Law Library may hold the copyright to parts of this website. You are free to copy the information for your own use or for other non-commercial purposes with the following language “Source: Maryland's People’s Law Library – www.peoples-law.org. © Maryland State Law Library, 2018.”