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Am I able to get a legal separation in Maryland?

On Behalf of | Aug 4, 2023 | FAMILY LAW - Family Law

The answer to the question depends a lot on what one means by a legal separation.

Officially, there is no process in Maryland for getting a legal separation. Maryland offers two types of divorces to spouses. A couple can get an absolute divorce or a limited divorce.

In Maryland, a legal separation means that spouses have started to live separately from each other and their plan is not to reunite. Separation may be a legal reason a court can use to grant a divorce.

Sometimes, though, residents in the greater Baltimore area might use the term “legal separation” to refer to a situation where they stay married but still have court orders that divide property and decide on custody, support and parenting time.

In Maryland, this is what a limited divorce does.

A limited divorce works a little differently from an absolute divorce at the outset. A person will have to prove they are entitled to a limited divorce, for example.

However, once the process starts, judges can make the same decisions about property and children as they would in any other divorce.

The key difference is that after a limited divorce, the couple remains legally married. By contrast, an absolute divorce means the couple’s marriage is legally over. They are free to remarry after the process concludes.

Why would I want to get a limited divorce?

Marylanders might be interested in a limited divorce for a number of reasons.

They may have certain religious or moral views that would make them more comfortable with a limited divorce.

In some cases, it may be just too difficult emotionally to think about ending a marriage. Sometimes, a couple may choose to stay legally married for the sake of their children’s feelings.

There may even be financial or other practical advantages to staying legally married in some situations.

A Towson resident who is interested in a limited divorce will want to make sure they understand this legal option fully before they commit to it.