What is Absolute Divorce in Maryland?
Dealing with a divorce is a very difficult time in a person’s life but you do not have to go through it alone.
The state of Maryland recognizes two different types of divorce – absolute and limited and filing for one versus the other is something your divorce attorney will help you decide. The biggest difference is that an absolute divorce dissolves the marriage and the parties are then free to remarry. In an absolute divorce, all issues including property will be addressed and afterwards, neither party will be able to inherit property from the other property. At this time, all issues such as custody, child access, child support, alimony, attorney fees and marital property are addressed.
In order to receive absolute divorce, you must prove at least one “ground” exists.
There are two types of grounds:
1 ) The first is a “no fault” ground which is a one year mutual separation or two year separation.
2) The second, a “fault” ground, includes a variety of instances that puts a spouse at “fault”, such as extreme cruelty of child or spouse, desertion lasting longer than 12 months, adultery, insanity or incarceration.
To obtain a fault-based divorce, you will have to prove that your spouse acted in any way mentioned above. If you can’t prove any of these, you may be eligible for a “no fault” 12 month separation or mutual consent.
Many of the grounds for absolute divorce require that you wait some time before you can file.
For example, you can’t use the imprisonment ground unless a criminal court sentenced your spouse to three years or more and he or she actually served a year of that sentence.
The insanity ground requires that your spouse be institutionalized for a minimum of three years. This type of waiting period can cause severe problems for spouses who require financial support since the court can’t make temporary orders for such things until you file.
If you can’t meet the time requirements for a ground of absolute divorce, or you’re not entirely sure you want to get divorced, you can use the “halfway” option of limited divorce that Maryland offers. Keep in mind though, you give up your right to remarry because you’re technically still married but because this halfway option rids of any time requirements, the court can issue immediate support, custody and property division. If you are considering divorce, contact a divorce attorney who can properly explain to you your options.
A spouse may also ask the court to include an order in the decree which will allow the spouse to resume in his or her birth name. It’s best to talk to your attorney to see what is needed to prove which grounds.