If you are from Maryland, you should be aware that terms divorce and separation have different legal meanings, and you shouldn’t confuse them. If things between you and your spouse are not working out anymore, you should consider the dissolution of marriage. However, you need to get familiar with Maryland separation laws first.
Types of Divorce in Maryland
When it comes to filing for divorce in MD, you need to be aware that there are two types – a limited and an absolute dissolution. The first type authorizes spouses to live apart and get court orders about custody and financial issues, but it doesn’t include final division of property. Also, spouses can’t remarry or have sexual relations with another person. It gives them some time to reconcile or work out the terms of the dissolution of marriage.
Grounds for a limited divorce include desertions, voluntary separation, vicious conduct, and cruelty. The second type is an absolute divorce, and it terminates the marital bonds. Unlike the first type, it includes the final division of property and allows spouses to remarry. Its grounds include adultery, incurable insanity, uninterrupted desertion of 12 months or more, criminal conviction where the spouse has been sentenced to at least three years, and voluntary separation for 12 consecutive months.
What is a Separation in Maryland?
It is the only no-fault ground which means that the reason for a marriage termination wasn’t a misconduct of spouses. The rules in Maryland are very strict. Spouses can’t have sex with each other, nor live in the same house. It is not enough to sleep in different rooms to be considered separated. When it comes to voluntary separation, both spouses have to agree to it, without any threats. Also, the intention of terminating marriage needs to exist. On the other hand, separation of two years for any reason, even if one of the spouses hasn’t agreed to it and didn’t wish to terminate a marriage, can result in getting divorced.
If you are the one who wants a dissolution of marriage, you need to prove to the judge that the requirements have been fulfilled. If you don’t have the evidence to show that you two haven’t had sex and have been living apart for the required period, your divorce won’t be granted. You also need to prove that there is no chance of reconciliation.
Many spouses start living apart until obtaining a dissolution of marriage. They can agree on various issues including child support, child custody, a division of property, and alimony with the help of an attorney. If you and your spouse put this agreement in writing, and notarize it, it becomes a separation agreement. The first purpose of this document is to fix the responsibilities and rights of the spouses and form a binding contract. The second objective is to prove that both spouses have agreed to it. It makes the process of obtaining a divorce easier.