The state of Maryland recognizes two types of divorce, limited and absolute. A limited divorce is not permanent. It is a tool used by the court to supervise and legalize separation and provide financial support. Often parties who are unable to settle their differences between themselves will have a limited divorce. A limited divorce does not permit you to remarry and it does not terminate property claims. A limited divorce is often referred to as a legal separation. It also serves to document the date of the separation. Any property owned by both spouses will remain the property of both spouses. There is a common misconception that you must obtain a limited divorce prior to obtaining an absolute divorce. Maryland Code Ann. Family Law § 7-103 allows for an absolute divorce whether there has been an order of limited divorce or not. If there is no need for spousal support, child support or property to divide then there generally is no need for a limited divorce.
While you must be a resident of Maryland you must also meet certain criteria in the state of Maryland to file for a limited divorce. They must prove at least one of the following four grounds.
Desertion is the most commonly used grounds for limited divorce. There are two types of desertion, actual and constructive. Actual is when one party unjustifiably leaves or abandons the other party, or forces the other party to leave the home. Constructive is when one party is forced to leave the home due to the misconduct of the other. There is no time limit needed to prove desertion as any reasonable time the judge agrees to will justify the action of the court.
During a limited divorce, the parties must live apart although they do remain legally married. Even though they are still married, neither has the right to have sexual relations with the other spouse. While they are separated, neither may remarry or have sexual relations with another person. Having sexual relations with another person during a limited divorce is considered adultery.
As a condition of limited divorce, the court may require the parties to participate in good faith in the efforts to achieve reconciliation that the court prescribes. At the same time, the court that granted the decree may revoke the decree at any time on the joint application of the parties.
As anyone knows, a divorce can be a painful, expensive experience for both parties. It is recommended that both parties attempt to resolve their differences in a calm peaceful matter; however, this is not often the case. If you find yourself in this situation, it is in your best interest to get the best legal advice available to you. A legal team experienced in Maryland divorce law will help to ease your experience and give you the knowledge needed to help you through this difficult time.
Every legal problem is unique, and your specific legal questions can only be properly answered during a thorough consultation about your case. We are always glad to provide a free consultation via phone call, office visit, or E-mail.
We have two main offices, one in Howard County in the center of Washington and Baltimore and the other in the Glen Burnie portion of Anne Arundel County. We also have various offices around the state where we are willing to meet with you to discuss your case.