For couples considering divorce, it can be a stressful and seemingly overwhelming process. It may be helpful for them to have information about the types of divorce recognized by Maryland law.
Before a court can grant a divorce, a spouse must demonstrate that there is a legal reason for the divorce. This is referred to as the grounds for divorce.
Limited and absolute divorce
A limited divorce may be used in situations where there are no grounds for an absolute divorce. It allows the couple to live separately and can help them settle some issues like child custody, financial responsibilities and property ownership.
It does not legally end the parties’ marriage. Grounds for a limited divorce include separation, cruelty and desertion.
An absolute divorce settles all issues and legally ends the parties’ marriage. If they choose, spouses can mutually agree to the divorce by completing a settlement agreement which may address topics such as property division and spousal support.
In addition to mutual agreement, the grounds for absolute divorce include adultery, imprisonment for a crime and insanity.
Filing and response requirements
A spouse must file the divorce complaint in circuit court. It must be filed in the county where he or she lives or where the other spouse lives.
The spouse who files the complaint must provide a copy of it to the other spouse, called service of process, and must send the court documentation to demonstrate the other spouse received the copy.
The spouse who receives the complaint must respond within 30 days if he or she lives in Maryland, 60 days if he or she lives in another state or 90 days if he or she was served outside of the United States.
Divorce can be complicated. An experienced attorney can help spouses with the divorce process, including addressing issues such as filing, child custody and support, property division and other concerns.