If you live in Maryland and wish to be separated instead of what is known as divorce absolute, you may be able to do so through by obtaining what is technically referred to as a limited divorce. In most cases, there is no clear cut benefit to getting a limited divorce in lieu of a traditional divorce, there are some cases when it does make sense. One of the most common reasons people would chose to get legally separated in Maryland instead of getting legally divorced is because of religious reasons. There are also some communities that still stigmatize the process of divorce so there may be be cultural reasons as well for obtaining a legal separation instead of a standard Maryland divorce.
When speaking to your Rockville divorce attorney about obtaining a limited divorce, he can explain to you that the grounds are similar to what is required to obtain a fault based divorce in Maryland. Here is a list of the applicable grounds for obtaining a limited divorce or legal separation as it is colloquially called:
Pursuant to divorce law in the state of Maryland, cruelty is one of the grounds by which you file for a legal separation. As is the case with an absolute divorce in Bethesda or elsewhere in Montgomery County, you must prove that that your wife or husband has placed you or your children in the apprehension of immediate physical danger. While the Maryland Code allows you to use not only physical but also mental cruelty as a basis, we are generally referring to a pattern of cruel conduct in order to use cruelty as grounds for a limited divorce. This does not mean that a single incident cannot be a basis for filing for legal separation, but it may depend on the level of cruelty involved in that incident.
Desertion can also be a valid basis for filing for legal separation in Maryland. This requires a showing that your spouse has actually deserted you. This is distinct from the what is known by Maryland divorce lawyers as constructive desertion. In the case of constructive desertion, you spouse does not support you or act in the manner in which one would expect a spouse to act, but has not physically left you or your children.
In Maryland, what is commonly called constructive desertion is know as a constructive divorce. This is a very unfortunate situation where you spouse acts in such a way that you can not feasibly be expected to live with that person. It is less than actual cruelty, but is more than simply being argumentative as we often see with spouses that are in the contemplative stage of obtaining a divorce.
In addition to these grounds for obtaining a legal separation in Gaithersburg, you can also file for a limited divorce if you and your spouse have voluntarily agreed to live separately. However, the purpose of the separation must be distinct from simply meeting the jurisdiction requirement necessary to obtain a divorce absolute.
One thing to keep in mind is that that you cannot get remarried if you are legally separated, but have not been grated a divorce absolute.
If you need assistance with a divorce case or any other family law matter in the District of Columbia or Maryland, please contact the Gross Law Firm, LLC for a consultation.