A divorce in Maryland can either be absolute or limited. A limited divorce is only a legal separation, meaning the divorce is not final, and the marriage is still ongoing in the eyes of the law. The couple must live separately, but neither spouse may have sexual relations with another party. They also cannot remarry. By contrast, an absolute divorce refers to a permanent termination of the marriage.
A couple may only obtain an absolute divorce in Maryland based on specific grounds. The no-fault grounds for an absolute divorce are a 12-month separation or mutual consent.
A deeper look into the no-fault grounds for absolute divorce
If a spouse files for an absolute divorce based on a 12-month separation, the couple should have lived in separate homes for at least a year without sexual intimacy. You do not need your spouse’s consent to file for divorce if you can officially establish the minimum required separation period.
The requirements for divorcing on the grounds of mutual consent are that you and your spouse agree to the divorce and all the terms and conditions related to the divorce. Both spouses must sign a written settlement agreement addressing and resolving the following issues:
- Alimony (if applicable)
- Property division
- Child custody, visitation and support (if applicable)
If you have kids and child support is necessary, you must complete a child support guidelines worksheet and attach it to the settlement agreement. The court will review the settlement agreement and determine if the terms adhere to the children’s best interests. Neither spouse should object to any of the provisions at any time before the divorce hearing.
Why file for a no-fault divorce on the grounds of mutual consent?
If you and your spouse can settle all your disputes and resolve all divorce-related matters outside of court, the divorce will proceed more quickly and smoothly. It also gives you significant control over the distribution of your marital property.