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United States District Court for the District of Maryland
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Bar Association of Montgomery County, Maryland

Limited Divorce

In Maryland, there are two types of divorce: Absolute Divorce and Limited Divorce. An absolute divorce permanently ends the marriage, terminates any property claims, and permits remarriage. A limited divorce does not end the marriage and does not permit remarriage. But it does provide for support and legalizes the separation. Limited divorce is Maryland’s form of legal separation. Once a limited divorce has been granted, if the Parties choose to, and once they meet one or several of the grounds for absolute divorce, the Parties must file a Complaint for Absolute Divorce with the Court.

Call our Maryland limited divorce attorneys and during your consultation, we will review all the facts with you and will then recommend which option would be best for you.

There are four (4) grounds or basis under which you can get a limited divorce in Maryland:

  1. Cruelty of treatment of the complaining party or the minor child of the complaining party;
  2. Excessively vicious conduct toward the complaining party or the minor child of the complaining party;
  3. Desertion; and
  4. Voluntary separation.

Just like the grounds for seeking an absolute divorce, in the context of limited divorce, cruelty of treatment and excessively viscous conduct means that the spouse has endangered the life, person, or health of the party or a minor child, making the marriage impossible. Ordinarily, a single act of violence is insufficient to prove cruelty unless it can be shown that the act was done with the intent to cause serious bodily harm or future threat of serious bodily harm.

In order to prove desertion as a ground for limited divorce, the party must show that their spouse voluntarily deserted them without justification with the intent to end the marriage. The refusal to share a marital bedroom without justification has been found to be sufficient proof of desertion. Unlike when filing for an absolute divorce, when filing for a legal divorce on the ground of desertion, the parties do not have to be separated for any specified period of time.

When filing for a limited divorce on the ground of voluntary separation, the party must prove to the judge that he or she lives separate and apart from their spouse without cohabitation and without hope of reconciliation.

If you are considering filing for divorce in Maryland, but you aren’t sure if you should file for a limited divorce or an absolute divorce, contact our Maryland limited divorce & absolute divorce attorney right away. 

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