What are some basic facts about Maryland divorce law?

If you are currently contemplating divorce then perhaps the key thing for you to understand is that Maryland law allows for two types of divorce, “absolute divorce “, and “limited divorce”.

— Absolute divorce

Absolute divorce is by far the most common form of divorce sought in Maryland. Although any Maryland resident can file for divorce at any time, an absolute divorce requires certain legal grounds. Some examples of those legal grounds are adultery, desertion, cruelty, excessively vicious conduct, some criminal convictions and insanity. Additionally, Maryland is one of the few states that also requires both parties be separated for a period of 12 months before granting an absolute divorce.

Most Maryland residents don’t qualify for the other legal grounds. Therefore, they must separate from their spouse and then wait a full year for the divorce to be final. As you can expect, this could cause problems for couples with children. Not to mention those couples who share bank accounts, mortgages and car payments.

— Limited divorce

Limited divorce is specifically designed to address the problem of people seeking a divorce but may not meet the requirements of the absolute divorce. This type of divorce also contemplates that people have some matters that need to be resolved by the court immediately. It is important to remember that during a limited divorce the marriage is not ended. Therefore, parties are unable to remarry. On the plus side, couples can still remain on each other’s insurance policies because the marriage is still valid.

As you can see, getting divorced in Maryland can be a tricky process. That is why it’s best to have some professional guidance. There may be thorny issues in your divorce that you might not have even contemplated such as alimony or how to divide your 401K plan and retirement. All of these issues must be resolved before a Maryland court will grant a divorce.

Source: Maryland Department of Family Administration, “Family Law Information” Aug. 22, 2014ascfs