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Differences between absolute and limited divorce

Just as every state has hoops you must jump through before you can get married, they also each have their own legal requirements and processes that married couples must go through before they can get a divorce. The state of Maryland takes it even one step forward and has two forms of divorce -- a limited divorce and an absolute divorce.

A limited divorce is sometimes actually better known as a legal separation. This is when couples have agreed to separate, but are not quite ready to file for an actual divorce. Spouses may ask for a separation for any number of reasons, ranging from simply needing time apart to needing to get away from the other person because of cruel or excessively vicious conduct.

An absolute divorce, on the other hand, is actually the legal end of a marriage. This is done when there is no hope or expectation that a couple can or will reconcile. To get an absolute divorce, either you or your spouse have to have lived in the state of Maryland for at least a year prior to filing, or in the alternative, the cause of the divorce actually has to have occurred in Maryland.

Regardless of whether you have filed for a limited or absolute divorce, the decisions that are made by the court are basically the same. The court will decide who is to get custody, whether financial support will be paid to one of the spouses and who gets possession or use of the house.

There are a couple of slight difference though. A spouse can not have his or her former last name restored in a limited divorce, nor will the court decide how marital assets are to be divided. The decision as to who has possession of the house is also only good for three years. During an absolute divorce, however, all of these matters are decided before a divorce is ever granted.

Couples who are considered a divorce may find useful information on our website.

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