Maryland does not have a process called legal separation. While a couple may well separate from each other, the only way legally to end a marriage in Maryland is a divorce.
However, Maryland does recognize two different types of divorce.
An absolute divorce, which may be more familiar to Rockville residents, legally ends a couple’s marriage.
It is also an opportunity for the court to divide the couple’s property and debts and address matters of child custody and support. The court may also award alimony.
Like an absolute divorce, in a limited divorce, a court can for the most part make the same orders as in an absolute divorce.
Practically speaking, this means that the couple will have to agree on custody, child support, and parenting time.
They will also have to determine how to divide their property and may need to discuss alimony. If they do not come to an agreement, a court will have to decide these issues.
The grounds for a limited divorce are different
There are some subtle differences between the two types of divorce. For instance, there are additional legal reasons that a couple can rely on to ask for an absolute divorce that do not apply to limited divorces.
If a Marylander has detailed questions about how limited divorce works, he or she should consider speaking with a family law attorney.
However, the big difference with a limited divorce is that the couple will remain legally married even though they are maintaining separate homes.
Some people may prefer this for moral or religious reasons, while others may want to stay married because of their financial or professional goals.
Still others may just not be ready to deal with the finality of an absolute divorce or may want to keep the marriage going legally for the sake of the children.
In some cases, it may even just be easier to do a limited divorce with the thought of pursuing an absolute divorce at a later date.