There are two types of divorce in Maryland: absolute and limited divorce. Many people know they want a divorce, but aren’t sure how permanent or formalized they would like it to be. An experienced divorce attorney can help you understand which of the types of divorce in Maryland best suits your situation. Read on to learn more about this topic.
Types of Divorce In Maryland: Limited Divorce
A limited divorce is not final and does not entirely dissolve the marriage. Under divorce law in Maryland, it does permit both spouses to live separate and independent lives, apart from each other, and to begin to temporarily separate the couple’s assets. The court may grant this type of divorce in Maryland during a number of situations:
- If a person has cruelly treated the spouse who is filing for divorce, or a minor child of the spouse who is filing for divorce
- If a person displayed excessively vicious conduct toward their spouse or the spouse’s child
- If a person deserts their spouse
- If the couple separates
Limited divorces may be effective for an indefinite amount of time. The court also has the power to revoke a limited divorce at any time, if the couple decides together to do so. Courts sometimes decree a limited divorce if there is not enough evidence to establish grounds for an absolute divorce, even if the couple would prefer for the separation to be more permanent.
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Types of Divorce In Maryland: Absolute Divorce
An absolute divorce lives up to its name. It is legally permanent. Absolute divorces finalize all property claims and permit both parties to remarry later if they choose to do so. Since absolute divorce is more final, this type of divorce in Maryland takes a more intricate path through the courts.
Here are the grounds for divorce in Maryland for which the court can decree an absolute divorce:
- If a spouse has committed adultery
- If a person has deliberately deserted their spouse for longer than 12 months, without interruption, and does not expect to reconcile
- If a person has been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor in any state and been sentenced to serve at least 3 years, or an indeterminate amount of time (they must have served at least 12 months of this sentence)
- If the couple has undergone a 12-month separation, without interruption
- If a person has been confined in a mental institution or hospital for at least 3 years (two competent physicians must confirm that there is no hope for recovery)
- If a person has cruelly treated their spouse or their spouse’s minor child, and reconciliation is not possible
- If a person has displayed excessively vicious conduct toward their spouse or a spouse’s child, and reconciliation is not possible
- If both parties mutually consent, have no minor children together, and submit a signed agreement that resolves all issues of alimony and property distribution
In most circumstances, you can file for absolute divorce even if you and your spouse have previously received a limited divorce. However, a limited divorce is not a requirement for an absolute divorce.
The laws governing these types of divorce in Maryland are very complex and nuanced, and you can read more about them in our in-depth article about how to get a divorce in Maryland. You need an experienced divorce lawyer in order to fully understand Maryland divorce law and ensure a desirable outcome in court.
If this very short explanation of the types of divorce in Maryland sounds complicated, don’t worry! The attorneys at Zirkin and Schmerling Law have years of experience settling difficult divorce cases, and are here to help you get the results you need in court! For more information about how our divorce attorneys can help you, call us at 410-753-4611.