Skip to content
  • Maryland
  • Virginia
  • Washington, D.C.

Divorce Lawyers

Thyden Gross and Callahan LLPCounselors and Attorneys at Law



Maryland Divorce Legal Crier

News and comments about divorce, child support, child custody, alimony, equitable property distribution, father’s rights, mother’s rights, family law, laws on divorce and other legal information in Maryland.

Archive for the ‘Cohabitation’ Category

Adultery No Bar to Custody

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

In 1978, Robert Swain divorced Nancy Swain because of her adultery.  She did not deny it.  In fact, she was living in an apartment with another man she intended to marry.

What Robert objected to was the order giving Nancy custody of their minor daughter.  His position was that exposure to an adulterous relationship inevitably causes detriment to the morals and welfare of a child of impressionable years.

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals disagreed.  It said there are no presumptions that adultery makes you an unfit parent.  Adultery is relevant only as if it actually affects the child’s welfare.  There is no presumption of harm.  Adultery will not tip the balance against a parent in a custody case.

Swain v.  Swain, 43 Md. App. 622; 406 A.2d 680 (1979)

Divorce in Maryland if No Sex for a Year

Friday, January 29th, 2010

“My husband and I have not been intimate for over a year,” Louise, an unhappily married woman tells Joe, a Maryland divorce lawyer, “and I want a divorce.”

“OK, any other woman in his life?” inquires Joe.


“Hmmm, any domestic violence or threats?”


“Then you’re going to have to move out of the house for a year before you can file a divorce complaint,” says Joe trying to push the box of tissues across his desk toward Louise unobtrusively.

“But we can’t afford that,” cries Louise reaching for the tissues, “There must be another way.”

Neighboring jurisdictions, DC and Virginia permit parties to be separated while living in the same house, but not Maryland.  In Maryland, spouses are required to live separate and apart under different roofs for one year if the both agree, and two years if they don’t.  This waiting period must occur before they can even file for divorce.  And the divorce might take a year or longer after that.  These are the no fault grounds.  Adultery and cruelty have no waiting period.

The purpose of this waiting period is to favor marriage over divorce and make sure the parties really, really want to be divorced and not married.  After all, sometimes people change their minds.  But the recession has forced many couples to live together in misery because they cannot afford to separate.

So Montgomery County Delegate Luiz Simmons, an attorney, will support legislation this year to add a new grounds for divorce in Maryland, according to this morning’s Frederick News Post.  If this law passes, couples who go a year without sex would be able to file for divorce.

Divorce Quotes

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009
Sometimes I wonder if men and women really suit each other. Perhaps they should live next door & just visit now and then.
– Katharine Hepburn

Get Divorced and Live Together

Monday, July 13th, 2009

An article from the St. Louis Post Dispatch says the hard economic times are causing some couples to stay together before, during and even after they divorce.

With home values shredded and retirement assets dwindling, many unhappy couples are realizing they don’t need to spend more money on divorce lawyers, and they are more willing to compromise and settle.

One husband said he didn’t have the money to move out, so the couple stayed together during the divorce, and when it got too stressful, he went to the movies or she went out with friends.

“My attorney was very up front with me,” he said. “She said, ‘The more you guys (argue) about this, the more it’s going to cost you.'”

Who Says Love Doesn’t Last?

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 has an article about a couple who had been living together in Germany and decided to get married.  Then they got into an argument almost immediately after the wedding.  It escalated into a big fight in which the groom began chasing the bride around with a knife trying to cut her hair.  She called the police and they gave her a restraining order.  They decided to get an annulment on the same day.  The groom spent what was to have been his wedding night in a homeless shelter.

Cohabitation Clauses

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

Alimony in Maryland terminates automatically on remarriage, but not on cohabitation, unless the parties agree otherwise. There are various ways to “agree otherwise”. Here are some sample cohabitation clauses from the case of Gordon v. Gordon, 342 Md. 294, 301-303 (Md. 1996).

1. This is the clause that was in dispute in the Gordon case:

Husband shall pay to Wife as alimony the sum of $ 6,000 per month in advance, commencing on the first day of December, and continuing on the first day of each and every month thereafter. The said payments shall terminate upon the death of the Husband, the death of the Wife, the remarriage of the Wife, or at such time as the Wife reaches the age of 59 1/2, whichever first occurs. The said payments shall also terminate in the event the Wife resides with any unrelated man without the benefit of marriage for a period continuing for beyond sixty (60) consecutive days.

2. This clause defines remarriage to include cohabitation:

For the purposes of this agreement the term “remarriage of the Wife” shall be defined as either a ceremonial civil or religious marriage or a situation whereby the wife habitually and continuously resides with another man without benefit of a marriage ceremony for a period of 120 days consecutively or 120 days cumulatively within a sixteen-month period.


3. Cohabitation as a separate terminating event:

The payor shall pay to the payee, for her support, maintenance, or alimony, the sum of dollars per week, until the death of either party, or the remarriage of the payee, or the payee’s cohabitation with another person, whichever event shall first occur. For the purposes of this Agreement, the term “cohabitation” includes any shared occupancy of a dwelling, whether or not the occupants engage in sexual relations.

A. LINDEY & L. PARLEY, 1 LINDEY ON SEPARATION AGREEMENTS AND ANTENUPTIAL CONTRACTS 15A-6 (1995) (Form 15A.05) (emphasis added). See also S. GREEN & J. LONG, MARRIAGE AND FAMILY LAW AGREEMENTS 372-73 (1984 & 1994 Cum. Supp.) (Appendix 3).

4. Another example:

Support shall continue until the death of the husband, the death of the Wife, her remarriage, or her cohabitation with another person with whom she has a romantic relationship.

5. Requiring a financial relationship between the cohabitants as a condition for terminating support:

The Wife shall also be deemed to have remarried for the purpose of this Article if she shall live with an unrelated adult male to whom she is not legally married in the same abode in a situation where the parties are, in effect, living as Husband and Wife and the unrelated adult male should be supporting, or contributing to the support, of the Wife.

SCHLISSEL, supra, § 19.31, at 513.

6. Requiring a common residence for a specific length of time to establish cohabitation:

Remarriage shall be defined so as to include her cohabitation or residing with an unrelated male for either thirty (30) consecutive days or ninety (90) days in any one hundred eighty (180) day period.

TURNBULL & WASE, supra, at 256.

Even when you have a cohabitation clause, disputes can still arise. In the Gordon case, the wife lived with another man for 60 days, but the court of appeals sent the case back to the trial court to determine if that was really cohabitation or not.

© 2018 Thyden Gross and Callahan LLP. All rights reserved.