There are two different kinds of divorces in Maryland. An Absolute Divorce is the only way in Maryland in which you can dissolve a marriage. A Limited Divorce does not end a marriage; it will only resolve issues of property. A Limited Divorce is useful when the parties do not yet have grounds to file for an Absolute Divorce, but want to divide the parties’ property between them or establish Court-ordered child support for the benefit of their minor children.
There are many grounds for an absolute divorce in Maryland. You can file based on fault grounds or no-fault grounds. Below is a brief summary of fault and no fault grounds in Maryland.
- Adultery – when one spouse engages in a sexual relationship with someone that is not his or her spouse and the non-offending spouse does not condone the conduct
- Insanity – this requires that a person be confined to a mental institution or hospital for at least 3 years before filing for divorce
- Desertion – one spouse abandons the marital home without justification
- Cruelty or Excessively Vicious Conduct – occurs when one spouse’s conduct endangers the life, health or safety of the other spouse or their minor child, and it would be unsafe to continue to cohabitate.
- Conviction of a Crime – requires that one be convicted of a crime and has received a jail sentence of at least 3 years and has already served a year of that sentence.
No Fault Grounds:
- 12-month separation – requires the parties have been living separate and apart for a period of 12 months or more
- Mutual Consent – requires that the parties mutually agree to obtain a divorce and that they have signed a Marital Settlement Agreement. There is no waiting period for this kind of ground for divorce.