Relationships can be hard. Sometimes, you know it’s over, and it’s time for a divorce. For many, however, they simply need a break. They need the opportunity to reevaluate, readjust, and see if it’s possible to come back together.
For these people, many states offer legal separation. Maryland, however, has a different solution. It offers something called a “limited divorce.” This is the state’s version of a legal separation. The spouses remain married, but they do not share physical or financial responsibilities. A limited divorce also allows spouses to formally divide assets and establish child custody terms.
Here is a broad overview of MD’s limited divorce laws. In this piece, we also discuss the social and emotional benefits and consequences of this process.
Overview of a Limited Divorce in Maryland
Unlike an absolute divorce, a limited divorce does not dissolve the marriage, but it still settles issues such as child custody, support, and property division.
Limited divorce is suitable for couples who wish to separate without completely ending the union. For many reasons, whether they be religious or financial, it’s simply easier for the couple to remain married.
You can easily convert a limited divorce to an absolute divorce after a specified time.
To obtain a limited divorce in Maryland, a couple must meet certain residency requirements and file a complaint in Circuit Court.
Eligibility Requirements for Filing a Limited Divorce
- The couple must be married for at least one year before filing.
- To fulfill the requirements of the limited divorce, spouses must live apart, and they cannot engage in any sexual activity with one another.
- There must be a mutually agreed-upon reason for the divorce, such as mutual and voluntary separation, desertion, or cruelty.
- The couple must have agreements related to custody, visitation, support, and property division.
The Pros and Cons of a Limited Divorce
- It allows spouses to establish legal separation without meeting the strict requirements for an absolute divorce.
- It can address issues such as property division, child custody, and support, which can help to reduce future disputes or confusion.
- It allows the marriage to legally continue. This is helpful for people who have religious, moral, or financial reasons to keep the marriage intact.
- It doesn't allow for remarriage to another person.
- Spouses may still be responsible for each other's debts.
- The division of property can be more complex since limited divorce doesn't dissolve the marriage.
Process and Forms
To initiate a limited divorce, you must file a Complaint for Limited Divorce with the Circuit Court in your jurisdiction. There are several other forms as well, including a Financial Statement, a Property Settlement Agreement, and a Child Custody and Support Agreement.
As with any legal matter, it is highly recommended to seek the guidance of an experienced attorney to help make sure everything is filed correctly and efficiently. Law Office of Nicholas T. Exarhakis has years of family law experience, and we can help you follow through on your limited divorce.
Finances and Other Considerations During a Limited Divorce
A limited divorce can alter several aspects of your financial life. It could change your tax filing status, health insurance coverage, and property ownership.
Make sure to consult with an experienced legal professional who can guide you on the specific requirements and limitations of a limited divorce in Maryland. With careful planning and attention to detail, couples can navigate the process with confidence and clarity.
Our firm is here to help you with a limited divorce. We are also there if you are ready to end this divorce and reunite or if you decide to end the marriage permanently. For a free consultation, contact our team online or call our office at (410) 593-0040.