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Grounds for divorce in Maryland

In Maryland, there are two classification for divorce. They are limited divorce and absolute divorce. Grounds for each type of divorce are specified by law.

A limited divorce designates certain rights and responsibilities for each spouse. However, it does not completely dissolve the marital union. Under limited divorce, parties are not allowed to remarry and final decisions regarding property division are not assigned. In essence, it is the equivalent of a legal separation. Grounds for limited divorce include excessively vicious conduct, cruelty of treatment toward a spouse or a child and parties voluntarily living apart from each other without cohabitation or the reasonable expectation of a reconciliation.

An absolute divorce completely dissolves the marital union. Moreover, it designates between parties custody and the rights and responsibilities pertaining to finances and property. Maryland law articulates two main grounds for absolute divorce, adultery and specific scenarios of separation. Those scenarios include: a felony conviction of a spouse resulting in a prison sentence of at least three years, spouses living separately for two uninterrupted years or for one uninterrupted year without expectation of reconciliation and when there is a complete and deliberate desertion for one year with no possibility for reconciliation.

Preparing for a divorce requires careful planning and preparation. Maryland divorce laws are very specific, and knowledge of the requisite statutes pertaining to divorce is essential. For this reason, many divorcing spouses individually retain the counsel and representation of a family law attorney. In this way, individual spouses may ensure that their property rights remain inviolate during the dissolution of a marriage. Furthermore, the lawyer may help individual spouses obtain a divorce settlement that is fair and reasonable.

Source: msba.org, "Divorce and Separation", September 23, 2014

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