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Spouses in Maryland can no longer file for a limited divorce

On Behalf of | Mar 26, 2024 | Divorce |

Filing for divorce is often the last option that an individual considers during times of marital conflict. Even those dealing with extreme financial misconduct or marital infidelity may try to make their relationships work before they file for divorce.

Some couples undergo a temporary period of separation to work on their relationship and allow the spouses time to heal from prior issues. In some cases, people want to formalize that separation to protect themselves from financial liability or claims of abandonment. Separation could protect someone from liability for a spouse’s debts or other legal issues related to their misconduct.

Historically, couples in Maryland going through a difficult time had the option of pursuing a limited divorce instead of an absolute divorce. However, limited divorce is no longer a legally recognized option in Maryland as of late 2023.

Maryland recently updated its divorce statutes

A limited divorce was the Maryland equivalent of a legal separation. One spouse could request a limited divorce, potentially citing the current separation of the spouses as a justification for that request.

A limited divorce did not actually end a marriage but diminished the responsibility that spouses had to one another and to outside parties based on the conduct of their spouse. Some people reconciled after a limited divorce, while others lived separately for the rest of their lives. Others may have gone on to pursue absolute divorces that dissolved the marital relationship.

People can no longer request a limited divorce or file any sort of legal separation request with the Maryland family courts. Thankfully, they can still pursue a divorce based on legal separation. Provided that spouses have separated for at least six months, that could be grounds for divorce.

The state has also changed the legal grounds for divorce. While the courts previously recognized fault-based filings, irreconcilable differences, lengthy separation and mutual are now the only justifications for Maryland divorce filing. Spouses do not need to prove misconduct to secure a divorce and cannot formally blame one another for the divorce filing in family court.

Those who are aware of current Maryland divorce statutes may find it easier to address marital issues in a legal context. Spouses familiar with Maryland laws can avoid mistakes and pitfalls that could delay or complicate a divorce finalization as well. Seeking personalized legal guidance is a good way to get started.

Terenzini & Lucero, LLC.

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