What are the Different Kinds of Divorce in Maryland?
Although traditional marriage vows make a couple’s union seem permanent, divorce is a common reality across Maryland and the United States. Recognizing this reality, Maryland law provides for two different types of divorce for married couples: Limited Divorce and Absolute Divorce.
Limited Divorce Under Maryland Law
Maryland Code of Family Law Section 7-102 details the legal parameters for a limited divorce. This type of divorce is not permanent. If the spouses change their minds, they can roll back a limited divorce and return to their marriage. In certain cases, divorcing spouses may qualify for a limited divorce, even if they fall short of the requirements for an absolute and permanent divorce.
There are four acceptable reasons for a limited divorce under Maryland law:
- Cruel treatment of a spouse or their minor child;
- Excessively vicious conduct toward a spouse or their minor child;
- Desertion, if one spouse abandons the other spouse; or
- Separation, if the spouses do not live together and there is no expectation to reconcile.
When granting a limited divorce, a Maryland court may do so for a limited or indefinite period of time. Though if spouse spouses apply in writing to end a limited divorce, the court must honor that request.
Absolute Divorce Under Maryland Law
Maryland Code of Family Law Section 7-103 provides an overview of the legal requirements for an absolute divorce. This type of divorce is final and permanent. After a court issues an absolute divorce, the marriage is officially over.
There are eight acceptable reasons for a limited divorce under Maryland law:
- Adultery, if one spouse has extramarital, sexual relations;
- Desertion, if one spouse abandons the other spouse deliberately for at least 12 months;
- Criminal conviction, if one spouse is sentenced to serve at least 36 months in jail;
- Separation, if the spouses have not lived together for at least 12 months;
- Insanity, if one spouse has been confined to a mental institution for at least 36 months and suffers from an incurable condition;
- Cruel treatment of a spouse or their minor child, if there is not a reasonable hope of reconciliation;
- Excessively vicious conduct toward a spouse or their minor child, if there is not a reasonable hope of reconciliation; or
- Mutual consent, if both spouses agree in writing, and meet all other requirements.
When granting an absolute divorce, a Maryland court marks the end to a marriage. As mentioned previously, an absolute divorce is final and permanent. Unlike limited divorces, it is not possible to reverse an absolute divorce.
Contact Us Today for Help
If you have legal questions about limited or absolute divorce in Maryland, it can be highly productive to speak with a sensible family law attorney. Based in Bel Air, Maryland, the attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered have more than 60 years of combined legal experience in family and criminal law, including limited and absolute divorces. If you need legal help, contact us today for an initial consultation.