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How is legal separation different from divorce?

On Behalf of | Jul 2, 2020 | Firm News |

If you feel like you want to end your marriage in Maryland, you have two options: divorce or legal separation. They both can allow you to separate your lives and live apart, but the details of each process are a little different. 

According to the Maryland Courts, legal separation in the state is a limited divorce, which has similar effects to a separation that other states may grant. You can have an informal separation where you and your spouse live apart for some time, but that does not require court intervention. 

Limited divorce 

A limited divorce will allow you to divide property and set up arrangements, such as child custody and spousal support. Do note that to get a limited divorce, you must have grounds, which include desertion, cruelty or separation. This type of divorce does not legally end your marriage. 


An absolute divorce will end your marriage. It is similar to a limited divorce in that you will divide your lives through making decisions about children, property and financial support. You can ask for a divorce for the same grounds as you would a limited divorce with the additional grounds of insanity, adultery, imprisonment for a crime and mutual consent. 


The process to get either type of divorce is the same and the decisions made during the process can be the same, but the outcome is where the difference is. A limited divorce or separation does not end your legal marriage, but an absolute divorce does. You can decide after a limited divorce to get back together and live as a married couple without having to go through remarrying to restore the legal bond.