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Shedding some light on the divorce process here in Maryland -- II

In January, our blog discussed how many people understand the final result of divorce but are nevertheless lacking a firm comprehension of what the divorce process actually entails.

In today's post, the second in a series, we'll continue exploring some basic background information on the divorce process in Maryland in order to help clarify this important legal process and debunk any misconceptions. Specifically, we'll discuss the second type of divorce recognized by the state: limited divorce.

Limited divorce

When couples are lacking grounds for an absolute divorce, in need of financial relief and/or generally unable to resolve their problems privately, they may pursue what is known as a limited divorce here in Maryland.

This process is akin to legal separation in that the couple will remain legally married, but be required to live apart, refrain from sexual relations and not attempt to remarry.

Furthermore, if either of the spouses has sexual relations with another person during the limited divorce, that spouse will be considered to have committed adultery and thus provide the other spouse with fault-based grounds on which to pursue an absolute divorce. 

It's important to understand that even though the limited divorce is not the same as an absolute divorce, a court can still issue binding decisions concerning such important matters as child custody, child support, property division and spousal support.

As far as timing is concerned, a court is permitted to grant a limited divorce either for a set amount of time or in perpetuity. Furthermore, if the couple has a change of heart and wants to revoke the limited divorce, they are free to do so at any time and would revert to their prior marriage status.

If you have questions about divorce or legal separation, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible to learn more.

Source: The People's Law Library of Maryland, "Overview of divorce in Maryland," June 2014

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