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Maryland’s two types of divorce

On Behalf of | May 4, 2021 | Divorce

While there is a virtually unlimited number of reasons why relationships stop working and marriages come to an end, there are only two types of divorce in Maryland.

Absolute divorce

When most people think of divorce, they think of what the state of Maryland calls “absolute divorce” – the legal end of a marriage. In it, all issues are settled, including:

  • Child custody
  • Child support
  • Property division
  • Spousal support (also known as alimony)

After an absolute divorce has been granted, the marriage is over and both people can remarry.

Limited divorce

In our state, couples can also get a “limited divorce,” which doesn’t end the marriage. Issues that can be temporarily resolved in this type of divorce include the following:

  • Property division
  • Child custody and child support
  • Spousal support (alimony)

During the limited divorce, the spouses live apart but they remain legally married. That means, of course, that neither can remarry while the legal divorce is in effect.

Grounds for divorce

Grounds for a limited divorce:

  • Separation
  • Desertion
  • Cruelty and excessively vicious conduct

Those grounds are available to be cited as well for an absolute divorce, which includes several additional grounds:

  • Mutual consent
  • Adultery
  • Imprisonment for a crime
  • Insanity

The mutual consent ground is essentially Maryland’s version of a no-contest divorce available in many other states.

To obtain an absolute divorce using mutual consent as the legal reason or ground, both parties must agree to the divorce and give the court a written agreement that resolves all issues between them. Those issues include child custody and child support, division of marital property and so on.

The Maryland Courts system says on its website that you should “consider having a lawyer represent you if your case has complicated issues or if your spouse has a lawyer.”