Limited Divorce

Absolute Divorce vs. Limited Divorce in Maryland

There are two types of divorce: absolute and limited divorce. If you are seeking a divorce in Maryland, it is imperative to understand the difference between an absolute divorce and a limited divorce and to choose the option that is right for your situation. It is also crucial to seek legal counsel that protects your rights and interests throughout the process.
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Grounds for Limited Divorce

A limited divorce is a court-ordered separation that allows spouses to live apart while remaining married without waiting periods. The grounds for limited divorce include:

  • Separation
  • Cruel Treatment or Vicious Conduct
  • Desertion
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Absolute Divorce

An absolute divorce is a final divorce that permanently dissolves a marriage. There are specific grounds that must be adhered to in order to obtain an absolute divorce. An absolute divorce includes:

No-Fault Grounds for Absolute Divorce

The no-fault grounds for absolute divorce in Maryland include separation for 12 or more consecutive months or a mutual consent divorce. In no-fault divorce cases, the parties are not required to provide evidence of misconduct or reasoning behind the dissolution of the marriage.

Fault-Based Grounds for Absolute Divorce

Fault-based divorce complaints must be proven in court for the absolute divorce to be granted by the judge. The fault-based grounds for absolute divorce include:

  • Adultery
  • Actual Desertion
  • Constructive Desertion
  • Cruel Treatment or Vicious Conduct
  • Conviction of a Crime
  • Incurable Insanity

What a Limited Divorce Does

A limited divorce includes:

  • Child Custody Decisions
  • Child Visitation Arrangements
  • Child Support, Alimony, Health Insurance Orders
  • Temporary Use or Possession of the Family Property
  • Satisfying Suit Money or Attorney Fees
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What Is Not Included in Limited Divorce

A limited divorce does not dissolve the marriage. Therefore, with a limited divorce, neither spouse can remarry or have sexual relations with the other or a third person. A limited divorce does not address the division of assets or debts, retirement accounts, or the allocation of liabilities. It also does not address post-divorce financial support, such as alimony.

Limited vs. Absolute Divorce: Which One Should You File?

Deciding whether to file for a limited or absolute divorce depends on your specific circumstances and goals. There are several factors to carefully consider when determining whether you need a limited or absolute divorce.

Permanent Dissolution or Temporary Separation

Do you wish to end your marriage permanently, or do you want a temporary separation? If you want to end your marriage permanently, an absolute divorce may be the better option. If you are not ready to finalize a divorce and need time to resolve your differences and address issues related to the separation, a limited divorce is better suited.

Religious or Moral Objections

If you have religious or moral objections to divorce but wish to live apart from your spouse, a limited divorce can satisfy this need. A limited divorce allows you to live apart without dissolving the marriage and compromising your religious or moral objections.

Inability to Reach an Agreement

If you and your spouse can reach an agreement on the terms of the divorce, a limited or absolute divorce may be an option. However, if you cannot reach an agreement, an absolute divorce may be the only option, as the court will need to decide based on the evidence presented at trial.

Insurance Benefits and Financial Advantages

A limited divorce may be a good option if you want to maintain insurance benefits or other financial advantages included in your marriage. A limited divorce allows you to live separately without finalizing the dissolution of marriage, enabling you to continue to have access to your benefits and financial advantages.
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Converting a Limited Divorce to an Absolute Divorce

To convert a limited divorce to an absolute divorce, one spouse must file a complaint for absolute divorce, adhering to the grounds for absolute divorce, including the 12-month waiting period. The other spouse will then be served and given the opportunity to respond. If the parties cannot agree on the terms of the divorce, the court will hold a trial and make a decision.

To convert a limited divorce to an absolute divorce, one of the following conditions must be met:

  • The parties have lived apart for at least two years, and both agree to the divorce
  • The parties have entered into a written separation agreement and have lived apart for at least one year
  • Adultery
  • Desertion for at least 12 months

Personalized Legal Services

If you are considering a limited or absolute divorce, the Law Offices of William Trevillian P.A. can provide you with experienced legal representation. Our team of attorneys is dedicated to helping clients navigate the divorce process while protecting their rights and interests. Contact our law office today to schedule a free consultation with an attorney on the best course of action for your case.

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Call us now at 410-761-2430.