When you feel it is time to end your marriage, you must go through a legal process to do so. The laws of Maryland set up the process you need to follow. You will have to go to court to finalize a divorce decree that lays out all the terms of the separation of your life and your spouse’s life. This decree will include information about every detail, including any issues regarding children and property. 

The Maryland Courts explain that there are a few options you have when you want to end your marriage. You must know which option you want to take so that you can file the right paperwork and take the correct steps. There are three general divorce situations to consider.

1. Legal separation

Legal separation is an option in some states, but not in Maryland. A separation is when you and your spouse live apart and intend to divorce. It does not have any legal standing, though. In the eyes of the law, you are still in a legal marriage. You can use separation as the grounds for your divorce.

2. Absolute divorce

Absolute divorce is where you legally end your marriage. In this situation, you divide assets and settle all other issues, such as child support and parenting time. This is a final ruling that is binding.

3. Limited divorce

Limited divorce is not an end to your marriage. It is where you settle issues through the court with your spouse. It allows you to work out anything that you do not agree on, such as spousal support or asset division. This situation prepares you for an absolute divorce. 

The only true way to end your marriage is through an absolute divorce, but you may consider the other two options if they are right for your relationship right now. Your final choice depends on your particular needs.