In Maryland, a limited divorce may be decreed for either a limited or an indefinite period, and grants parties a legal separation. A limited divorce may be sought when spouses do not have grounds for an absolute divorce. A limited divorce is a partial divorce that does not absolutely terminate the marriage. Filing for a limited divorce will allow the Court to decide custody, support, use and possession of the home and personal property, to resolve disputes regarding ownership of personal property or order the sale of jointly owned personal property. Therefore, the court can (1) Make a division of personal property between the parties, (2) Order a sale of personal property and a division of proceeds, and (3) Make any other disposition of personal property it deems proper.
The grounds for a limited divorce are:
- Parties living separate and apart without cohabitation
- Actual or Constructive Desertion
- Actual Desertion
The voluntary separation of one of the married parties from the other, or the refusal to renew suspended cohabitation, without justification either in the consent or the wrongful conduct of the other party, with an intention to abandon. The abandoned party has the grounds for the divorce.
- Constructive Desertion
It is accepted that any conduct of a husband that renders the marital relation intolerable and compels a spouse to leave the other may effectuate the ground of constructive desertion, even though the conduct may not justify it on the ground of cruelty. The actions of the offending spouse must be found to be so intolerable that the other spouse is justified in leaving. The party that leaves has the grounds for divorce, however, the parties may continue to live under the same roof and a Maryland court can find grounds for constructive desertion.
- Cruelty of Treatment and Excessively Vicious Conduct
However, under a limited divorce, the Court cannot equitably divide the parties’ marital property or order the sale of jointly owned real property, such as the family home. The parties cannot dispose of real estate and cannot remarry.
Although spouses cannot remarry under a limited divorce, for tax purposes, spouses granted a limited divorce may file as single taxpayers.
An absolute divorce is a complete severance of the marital bond. An absolute divorce grants the parties division of marital real property, and personal property, if the parties have not yet consented to an agreement of how the assets will be divided. An absolute divorce entitles either or both parties to remarry. An absolute divorce includes the same grounds as limited divorce, after one year. Additionally, for desertion in absolute divorce, the desertion must be “deliberate and final,” and in both desertion and cruelty, there must exist no “reasonable hope of reconciliation.” Absolute divorce also has additional grounds.
The additional grounds for an absolute divorce are:
- Statutory Separation of One Year
- By one or both parties.
- The spouse seeking the divorce based on adultery must prove by clear and convincing evidence that their spouse had both the opportunity and the disposition to commit adultery. While there is a clear and convincing evidentiary standard, the evidence may be circumstantial.
- Insanity, if the insane spouse has been confined for three years prior to the application for divorce, the court determines by the testimony of at least two physicians that the insanity is incurable, and one of the parties has been a resident of Maryland for at least two years prior to filing the complaint.
- Conviction of a crime of felony or misdemeanor of a defending spouse, if the spouse has been sentenced to at least three years in a correctional facility, or sentenced to an indefinite amount of time; and has served twelve months of the sentence.
- Mutual Consent Divorce
An annulment declares a marriage null and void from the beginning. Maryland courts generally disfavor annulment. Maryland courts prefer the statutory function of divorces. However, in Maryland marriages may be annulled for clearly defined and specific reasons. Maryland Courts will grant an annulment if:
- One or both parties were already married at the time of the marriage.
- One or both parties were minors and/or did not have parental consent.
- The marriage was coerced under duress, i.e. “shotgun wedding.”
- The parties are blood relatives (consanguinity).
After October 2015, Maryland has a new ground for divorce, called mutual consent divorce. Under mutual consent divorce, parties that would have formerly been entitled to a limited divorce, can now seek the relief of an absolute divorce without waiting the one-year separation period. However, to be eligible for a mutual consent divorce, the spouses must enter into a settlement agreement distributing marital property and dealing with alimony, appear together to obtain the divorce, and have no minor children in common.
Maryland Attorney Committed to Fair & Equitable Solutions
Bel Air divorce lawyer seeks to minimize conflict
When a couple divorces in a community property state, each spouse has equal and immediate ownership interest in all property acquired or owned by a couple during the marriage, which will be split evenly. But in equitable distribution states such as Maryland, each spouse can buy or acquire property in his or her name alone, and the other spouse has no ownership interest in the property. In these cases, marital property is divided fairly — and equitably, but not necessarily equally — through equitable distribution, regardless of which spouse has acquired the property. Law Offices of Dawn S. Veltman, LLC has the necessary knowledge and familiarity with Maryland’s property division laws to ensure that you will obtain the fairest settlement.
Emphasizing experience and meticulous preparation
Before the actual distribution of the property, your lawyer will need to determine what property will be distributed and the value of said property. Equitable distribution states classify property as either “marital property,” assets acquired during the marriage and available for distribution, or “separate property,” assets acquired prior the marriage and exempt from division. I have the necessary familiarity with Maryland’s equitable distribution laws to distinguish property as either marital property or separate property. I also have the skill to trace the commingling of separate assets with marital assets, prevent unfair distribution and ensure that no assets or debts are overlooked.
Marital property may include anything you have that could be considered an asset, such as:
- Stocks and bonds
- Bank accounts
- Investment accounts
- Marital home and vacation homes
- Home furnishings
- Retirement funds
- Pensions and annuities
Tailoring non-adversarial legal solutions
I strive to convert an otherwise stressful and contentious matter into a positive resolution. My experience has equipped me to handle negotiation and mediation when appropriate, affording you greater control over the outcome. But even if you and your ex-spouse are unable to initially agree on an equitable marital division, I act as fair and impartial mediators to help you both move forward after the divorce.
Tenacious Maryland Same-Sex Divorce Lawyer Provides Formidable Representation
Maryland attorney fights to end your marriage on your terms
The dissolution of any marriage can involve crucial decisions about the welfare of children and the equitable division of assets. Divorces involving same-sex couples also present new and complex questions. As a Maryland attorney at the Law Offices of Dawn S. Veltman, LLC, I am experienced in same-sex divorce law. I consider all aspects of your divorce case to pursue the best possible solutions regarding:
- Distribution of personal property, bank accounts, stocks and other assets
- Division of marital debts
- Sale or possession of the marital home
- Spousal support and temporary support
- Child custody and visitation rights
- Child support
I am resolute in fighting to get clients the results they want. I seek an optimal divorce arrangement through settlement or litigation.
Understanding how same-sex divorce works
Today, the law allows couples to marry regardless of sex or gender. What was previously called “same-sex marriage” can now just be called “marriage.” The Supreme Court’s June 2015 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, but has not completely cleared the path for same-sex couples seeking a divorce. Some states may not yet recognize your right to divorce, even though federal law has granted you all of the rights and privileges of marriage, including divorce. Even in Maryland, some judges may offer resistance to your attempt to end your marriage. In addition, state law has not entirely caught up when it comes to deciding how to handle issues such as child custody, especially in cases involving surrogates or when only one parent is a child’s birth parent. At the Law Offices of Dawn S. Veltman, LLC, I represent your rights whether or not the law is clear. I don’t let judges or your spouse’s attorneys stand in the way.
An effective family law mediator
Mediation gives you and your spouse the opportunity to negotiate a divorce settlement in a structured setting through a trained facilitator. The mediation process gives you control and removes the unpredictability and uncertainty associated with litigation. Mediation often reduces the time and costs of divorce, and puts the decisions in your hands. This process is especially helpful for same-sex couples dealing with custody issues that courts may not be familiar with. As an experienced negotiator, I can help you pursue the most equitable divorce settlement, fair child support agreement and healthy child custody arrangement.
Aggressive family law litigator protects you and your family
Sometimes litigation is necessary to reach a just and equitable resolution to your family’s disputes. Through tactical trial strategies and professional courtroom presence, I decisively represent clients throughout the adversarial litigation process. I am prepared to take on any attorney or legal team in pursuit of justice for you and your family.
Contact a Bel Air divorce attorney
Call the Law Offices of Dawn S. Veltman, LLC in Bel Air at 443-354-4517 or contact me online to schedule a consultation with a determined divorce attorney.