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What are the two types of divorce in Maryland?

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2023 | Family Law

One type of divorce in Maryland is absolute divorce, which is how most states view divorce. It is the legal end to a marriage. Both parties are free to remarry and live separate lives after the divorce proceeding. However, unlike most states, Maryland also has what is known as limited divorce. A limited divorce does not end the marriage but legally separates the couple with court supervision. You cannot remarry or have affairs with a third party.

Why file for a limited divorce?

You may be wondering why there is a need for a limited divorce when couples can end their marriage through absolute divorce. The grounds for a limited divorce may help you realize why. It deals with the mistreatment and/or abandonment of a wronged or neglected spouse. During the limited divorce, the court can make temporary decisions over the following:

  • Alimony or spousal support
  • Child custody
  • Child support
  • The use of marital property
  • Health insurance coverage
  • Use of the primary residence

Often, a limited divorce is necessary when a fault-based divorce is difficult to prove. Limited divorce is especially beneficial when the two spouses cannot settle their differences in private, and one spouse needs financial relief.

Limited divorce is not for everyone

The state does not require couples to file for limited divorce as a predecessor to an absolute divorce. You can simply pursue the latter, although it takes more time and money to finalize an absolute divorce when parties cannot agree on a settlement agreement. There is a 12-month long waiting period if you and your spouse will pursue a no-fault divorce. Similarly, proving an at-fault divorce can be costly. It is best to know your options so you can figure out how best to approach your divorce.