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The difference between limited and absolute divorces in Maryland

You and your spouse decide that a separation will prove healthy and beneficial for you, your spouse and your children. Yet perhaps you and your spouse do not necessarily want to terminate your marriage altogether. In Maryland, two types of divorces exist. You and your spouse can determine whether each type proves best for your individual circumstances, and in doing so, you can file for separation without a permanent decree by the court.


The traditional, absolute divorce

Absolute divorce in Maryland is the first and most common type of divorce. This type of divorce dissolves the marriage completely as it allows for the opportunity for couples to remarry in the future. The marriage involves complete separation, and a judge will decide the splitting of equal assets and custody arrangements.

According to Maryland law, absolute divorces will determine:

  • Sole or joint custody to each or either parent
  • Alimony payments to spouses
  • Child support
  • Division of all property
  • Assigning of separate property to the respectable party

Spouses must cite a specific ground for divorce to file an absolute divorce such as:

  1. Adultery
  2. Desertion
  3. Felony conviction
  4. Separation
  5. Insanity
  6. Cruelty
  7. Vicious conduct
  8. Mutual consent

Absolute divorces allow for couples to cut ties and move on with separation. Usually, those that file absolute divorces in Maryland understand that the marriage shall terminate upon the end of the divorce proceedings, while those that file a second type of divorce understand that permeant separation may not prove necessary.

The limited, legal separation divorce

For couples that may wish to reconcile, limited divorces provide the opportunity to seek the aid of Maryland courts to determine various aspects of their separation. To file a limited divorce, you must show that you have grounds for limited divorce including:

  1. Cruelty
  2. Vicious conduct
  3. Desertion
  4. Separation

Limited divorces give couples the opportunity to settle various differences in court without the finality of divorce. A judge will help determine, based on evidence presented, custody arrangements and financial issues that couples must decide if moving toward divorce.

Because limited divorces prove revocable, many couples use the process to determine whether divorce will prove positive in their own lives and their children’s lives. Being legally separated allows you and your spouse to file separate tax returns, keep their own income and live separate lives – all while avoiding the finalization of their marriage termination.

If you believe that you and your spouse would benefit from either a limited or an absolute divorce, it is essential that you speak with an experienced family law attorney. He or she can provide expertise in determining the best course of action with separation. Especially when dealing with child custody issues, you want to seek the best representation for court proceedings.

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