Legal Question in Family Law in Maryland

Mental Cruelty


What constitutes Mental Cruelty in MD? Please elaborate. How do I prove it? Can I record conversations or that illegal and/or inadmissible?

FYI. I have been seeing a psychologist.

What constitutes Excessively Vicious Conduct in MD? Please elaborate. How do I prove it?


Asked on 12/18/03, 6:26 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Carolyn Press Chung & Press. P.C.

Re: Mental Cruelty

"Cruelty of Treatment," one of the grounds for a divorce, has been defined as either a single act of violence calculated to do serious bodily harm or a pattern of physical violence or unfounded accusations of infidelity or other acts of mental cruelty which seriously endanger the spouse's life, safety or health. "Excessively vicious conduct," also one of the grounds for a divorce, is hard to distinguish from "cruelty of treatment," and the definition of neither is very specific. In either case the conduct must be extremely severe, not just every day mean or unpleasant. The proof of such conduct would depend on the details of the behavior and would most often be evidence of physical harm or severe emotional damage.

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Answered on 12/21/03, 4:16 pm
Robert Sher Wagshal and Sher

Re: Mental Cruelty

It is very difficult to prove either mental cruelty or excessively vicious conduct sufficient to entitle you to a divorce in MD. In any event that would only entitle you to a limited divorce, sometimes termed a legal separation. Each case would turn on its own facts. Recording telephone conversations in MD without the consent of the party being recorded is illegal. However, if someone leaves a message on a recorder, you could use that as evidence.

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Answered on 12/19/03, 11:17 am

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