What Is a Limited Divorce in the State of Maryland?

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The U.S., there is one divorce approximately every 36 seconds. That ends up coming out to about 876,000 divorces a year. But divorce and family law varies from state to state, and that includes both the definition of divorce, how the process is carried out, and what it entails. As in other states, you can choose to mediate your divorce in Maryland rather than go through the court. But there are two types of divorce in this state: limited divorce and absolute divorce. What’s the difference?

To properly understand the difference between an absolute divorce and a limited divorce, you first need to know the grounds for divorce in the state of Maryland. They are:

  • A separation of 12 months
  • Mutual consent
  • Adultery
  • Desertion
  • Cruel treatment or abuse
  • Legal insanity
  • Incarceration

Limited Divorce

A limited divorce isn’t technically a true divorce in that it does not legally dissolve the marriage. It is also known as a “legal separation” and it typically the avenue sought by individuals who do not meet the grounds for divorce listed above, though some of the grounds do overlap.

The grounds for a limited divorce include:

  • Separation
  • Desertion
  • Cruel treatment

Residency Requirements:
To be applicable for a limited divorce, you must also be a legal resident of Maryland and physically reside in the state. If the grounds or reason for the divorce occurred in Maryland, you only need to be living in Maryland at the time you file for divorce. If the grounds took place outside the state, you or your spouse must have lived in Maryland for at least six months before filing.

During a limited divorce:

  • Remarriage is not allowed.
  • Sexual relations with a third party is considered adultery.
  • Property claims are not terminated.
  • Temporary decisions about custody, child support, alimony, and property may be settled.

Absolute Divorce

An absolute divorce is fairly simple; it legally ends the marriage. Either spouse can remarry after a decree of absolute divorce is entered, and any jointly-owned property is divided as specified by the agreement (prenuptial agreement or other written contract like one drawn during couples mediation). Furthermore, an absolute divorce means that one spouse can no longer inherit property from the other upon death.

It is important to note that a couple does not need to seek a limited divorce before getting an absolute divorce; one does not preceed the other.

If you are looking to mediate your divorce in a civilized and conflict-free manner, contact the Baltimore divorce mediation team people trust: Baltimore Mediation.