Comparing Limited and Absolute Divorce in Maryland

Maryland Divorce Laws

Compared to many other states, such as California, Maryland has relatively strict laws regarding divorce. Spouses may file for limited divorce or absolute divorce, but only based on certain grounds. When you meet with divorce lawyers in Owings Mills, you can learn more about filing for limited or absolute divorce.

Differences Between Limited and Absolute Divorce

Maryland family law defines limited divorce as a legal separation. If the court grants a limited divorce , you are not actually divorced. Legally, you are still married to your spouse and you may not remarry. Spouses may seek a limited divorce when there are certain issues that they need to resolve through the court. In contrast, an absolute divorce is a permanent dissolution of the marriage. A divorce decree settles issues such as property division. Once a divorce decree is issued by the court, the divorce is finalized and either party is free to remarry.

Divorcing Couple Grounds for Limited and Absolute Divorce

Maryland divorce laws establish four grounds for seeking a limited divorce. They are the unjustified abandonment of a spouse, cruelty of treatment, and/or vicious conduct toward a spouse or minor child. The fourth basis is established if the spouses have been living separately. It is not strictly necessary to obtain a limited divorce before filing for an absolute divorce. Spouses can file for absolute divorce if they have been living apart from each other continuously for one year, without having had sexual relations during that time. A spouse can file for absolute divorce before this one-year mark if he or she can prove adultery, desertion, cruel treatment, insanity, or incarceration of the other spouse. Sometimes, couples can file for an absolute divorce based on mutual consent. This applies if they do not have any minor children in common and they submit to the court a written, signed settlement agreement that resolves all issues.

Issues Resolved Through Divorce

A limited or an absolute divorce can resolve a number of issues. Limited divorce can address matters pertaining to child custody, child support, spousal support, and the use and possession of property. Similarly, an absolute divorce resolves issues such as child custody, child and spousal support, property division, and surname changes.