Maryland divorce law does not acknowledge legal separation, but it does allow for an arrangement called limited divorce. The term may sound a little like being “slightly pregnant” — but limited divorce is, in fact, a distinct marital state that allows a couple to physically split up without actually dissolving the marriage (which would be an absolute divorce). Couples may seek this type of arrangement for a variety of reasons:
- Support arrangements. Normally, a couple must live apart for a year before filing for a no-fault divorce. However, filing for limited divorce eliminates the waiting period, allowing the court to immediately establish support, child custody, and in some cases, distribution of property.
- Religious beliefs. Couples whose religious beliefs prevent them from seeking absolute divorce may seek limited divorce, so they can live separately while technically remaining married.
- Health insurance. Because couples under a limited divorce are still married, they maintain the benefits of marriage such as continuing to be covered under a spouse’s health insurance.
- Opportunity to reconcile. Unlike voluntary separation in advance of filing for divorce, limited divorce involves court supervision of the separation. In some cases, the court may order the couple to attempt to reconcile, or the couple may reconcile on their own.
One of the disadvantages of limited divorce is that the couple is precluded from engaging in sexual relations with each other — or with anyone else. In addition, limited divorce is not a no-fault action. One spouse must file for limited divorce on grounds such as cruelty, desertion, or separation with no hope of reconciliation.
Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC: Experienced Towson Divorce Lawyers
If you are in need of legal advice from an experienced Baltimore County divorce lawyer, call Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC today at (443) 589-0150. We would be happy to arrange a consultation for you at our Hunt Valley, East Pikesville or Towson MD office. You may also contact us online.