Towson Divorce Lawyers
Grounds for Divorce in Maryland
Maryland couples may file for either an absolute or limited divorce to legally end their marriage. There are distinct grounds for divorce depending on the type of divorce that the couple is seeking. Understanding the important differences between these types of divorce will help you make the best decisions for your situation. At Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC, our experienced Baltimore County divorce lawyers work with individuals, couples and families to help them determine the most appropriate legal course of action during this difficult time.
Maryland Divorce Process
When a couple seeks to permanently terminate the marriage relationship, they will be seeking an absolute divorce. Couples who are granted an absolute divorce may legally remarry. When an absolute divorce is granted, the courts will engage in the division of marital assets and property distribution. The grounds for obtaining an absolute divorce in Maryland include:
- Adultery – A spouse filing for an absolute divorce on adultery grounds does not have to catch their spouse in the act of adultery to be able to file on this basis. Courts will use circumstantial evidence (such as public displays of affection, joint travel plans, cell phone records and written communication between the parties) as proof of an adulterous relationship.
- Constructive Desertion – Constructive desertion is when one spouse’s misconduct or mistreatment essentially forces the other spouse to leave the marital home.
- Cruelty of Treatment – Cruelty of treatment is any conduct that endangers the life, person or health of the spouse which renders cohabitation unsafe. Cruel treatment of the minor child of the complaining spouse also constitutes grounds for divorce in Maryland.
- Desertion – If your spouse has deserted you and the desertion has continued for over twelve months without interruption, you may assert the grounds of desertion.
- Excessively Vicious Conduct – Like the grounds of cruelty of treatment, a spouse may file for divorce on the grounds of excessively vicious conduct (including physical abuse) if the conduct harms either the spouse or the spouse’s minor child.
- Felony or Misdemeanor Conviction – If your spouse has been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor and sentenced to serve at least three years (or an indeterminate amount of time), you may file for divorce after your spouse has served at least twelve months of their sentence.
- Insanity – The insanity grounds for divorce may be used when a spouse’s insanity leads to confinement in a mental hospital or similar institution for at least three years and the additional insanity requirements have been met.
- Separation – Spouses who live separate and apart (without cohabitation during this time) for twelve months without interruption may assert the grounds of separation. There also must be a lack of sexual relations during this twelve month time period.
Limited Divorce in Maryland
Not all divorces in Maryland are permanent in nature. Couples may seek a limited divorce which does not terminate the marriage but provides for a judicially decreed legal separation. When a limited divorce is granted, the couple’s marital assets will not be subject to the property distribution process. However, a court may determine that alimony is appropriate for one spouse during this legal separation. Many divorcing couples initially will file for limited divorce to begin their divorce proceedings and as way to quickly determine alimony obligations. The couple will later amend their filings to seek an absolute divorce. Other couples file for limited divorce for religious reasons. The grounds for obtaining a limited divorce in Maryland include:
- Cruelty of Treatment – Cruel treatment of a spouse, or the minor children of a spouse, is a ground for obtaining a limited divorce in Maryland.
- Desertion – A spouse may file for a limited divorce on the grounds of desertion as soon as the desertion occurs. Unlike filing for an absolute divorce on this basis, the deserted spouse does not have to wait any specific period of time before filing their limited divorce petition.
- Excessively Vicious Conduct – A spouse may file for a limited divorce on the grounds of excessively vicious conduct of their spouse if the vicious conduct is directed towards either the complaining spouse or the complaining spouse’s minor children.
- Voluntary Separation – Spouses who live separately and apart without cohabitation may file for a limited divorce on the grounds of voluntary separation when there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation.
Experienced Towson Divorce Lawyers of Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC: Providing Knowledgeable Legal Counsel for Absolute Divorce and Limited Divorce
Whether you chose to file for an absolute or limited divorce in Maryland, the dedicated Towson divorce lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC can assist you with the complexities of Maryland divorce law. Our experienced family law attorneys can handle all aspects of your divorce matter, including filing your divorce petition, pursuing child support or alimony and negotiating child custody arrangements as well as post-divorce modifications. Our attorneys also handle high asset divorce cases. To discuss your Maryland family law matter today, call the law offices of Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC in Hunt Valley, MD at 443-589-0150 or contact us online. Our offices are conveniently located allowing our Hunt Valley divorce lawyers to service clients throughout Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County and Howard County, including the areas of Baltimore, Towson, Essex, Columbia, Pikesville and Bel Air.