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Can you get a legal separation in Maryland?

In many states, a legal separation is an option some couples go through when they do not want to pursue a full divorce. Maryland has a similar option, but it is not referred to as a legal separation.

Maryland Courts recognize separation, but it is not something that they grant. Separation can instead be used as grounds for a divorce.

The kind of separation that Maryland recognizes

Depending on how long you are separated, it can be used as grounds for a divorce if you and your spouse have been living apart. For this to work, the separation must be done with the intention of ending your marriage, and during this time you and your spouse must not have had sexual intercourse.

The types of divorce in Maryland

In lieu of a legal separation, you can your spouse can attempt what is known in Maryland as a limited divorce. In a limited divorce, you can make arrangements for things such as the division of finances and property and you can also make some determinations regarding the custody of your child.

A limited divorce does not end your marriage, so it may be an option if you have reasons to separate but still wish to remain married. The grounds for a limited divorce include desertion, vicious or cruel conduct and separation as described above.

Absolute divorce ends your marriage. The grounds for an absolute divorce include insanity, imprisonment for a crime, adultery and mutual consent. If any of the first three conditions are met, you can petition the court for a divorce from your spouse regardless of his or her opinion on the matter. Otherwise, getting this kind of divorce requires the consent of both you and your spouse.

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