Divorce Sex in Maryland
Whether you are legally separated or considering a divorce, you may be concerned about your right to have sex during divorce, when you can have sex after divorce, and when you can resume dating. The Law Offices of William Trevillian P.A. can guide you through the restrictions of intimacy to ensure your divorce proceedings are not negatively compromised.
Types of Divorce in Maryland
In Maryland, there are two main types of divorce: absolute and limited divorce. Absolute divorce is the final termination of a marriage. Limited divorce, also known as legal separation, is temporary and does not dissolve a marriage, but enables you to live separately from your spouse without legal repercussions.
Grounds for Absolute Divorce
To file for an absolute divorce, you must provide evidence of one of the following:
- Actual Desertion
- Constructive Desertion
- Cruel Treatment or Vicious Conduct
- Conviction of a Crime
- Incurable Insanity
- One-Year Separation
- Mutual Agreement (without children)
Grounds for Limited Divorce
The grounds for limited divorce include:
- Voluntary or Mutual Separation
- Misconduct Toward a Spouse or Minor Child
Understanding Separation in Terms of Divorce
In Maryland, legal separation is a temporary court order that recognizes a couple’s marriage while allowing them to lawfully live apart. If a couple cannot provide adequate proof of grounds to terminate their marriage, a legitimate one-year separation is necessary before filing for divorce. During the one-year separation, the couple is to live as though their marriage is dissolved. This means they must have separate homes and cannot engage in sexual relations.
Sex and Legal Separation Nullification
During your one-year separation period prior to your final divorce, you cannot engage in sexual relations with your spouse. If you reconnect with your spouse in a sexual way, your one-year separation period restarts, meaning you will have to wait a year from the date the sex occurred to obtain a divorce.
The Outcomes of Proving Adultery
Adultery is considered grounds for a fault-based divorce. Adultery is classified as marital misconduct, which may be considered when determining the division of property and assets in the divorce. Adultery may affect alimony and spousal support, and in certain cases, it may affect child custody and visitation. However, the specific outcomes of proving adultery will vary depending on the circumstances of each case.
Sexting Your Spouse During Legitimate Separation
If you and your spouse decide to engage in sexually suggestive text messages, or “sexting,” during your divorce proceedings, it will not impact the one-year period of separation required to obtain a final divorce. As long as you do not engage in physical sex during divorce proceedings, you do not face legal ramifications.
Sexting Someone Other Than Your Spouse During Divorce
Sexting or sending sexually explicit messages or photographs through electronic means would not necessarily be considered adultery under Maryland law. However, it is possible that sexting could be considered evidence of infidelity or betrayal, which could work against you in divorce proceedings.
Is Withholding Sex Grounds for Divorce?
Withholding sex in and of itself is not grounds for divorce. However, lack of sex can be determined by actual or constructive desertion. Actual desertion refers to a spouse leaving without consent or justification. Constructive desertion refers to a spouse leaving due to misconduct or mistreatment. In both types of desertion, the spouses are estranged, and they will not have sexual relations.
Dating After Divorce
While dating during your legal separation can result in negative consequences, once your divorce is finalized, you may start dating immediately. The same is true for sex. Sex during divorce proceedings can be deemed adultery, and sex with your spouse restarts the one-year separation period. However, once you are legally recognized as divorced, you may lawfully engage in consensual sexual relations.
Consult Our Family Law Attorney
If you are considering a divorce or legal separation, or if you have concerns about the legal implications of engaging in certain behaviors during your divorce proceedings, contact the Law Offices of William Trevillian P.A. to schedule a free consultation with one of our qualified attorneys.