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In Maryland, there are two types of divorce. There is a Limited Divorce and an Absolute Divorce. Please note that the types of divorce, and grounds for divorce, will be changing on October 1, 2023. For more information on this change, please see our blog


A Limited Divorce is filed to seek temporary relief, including temporary child support, temporary alimony, temporary custody, and temporary use and possession of the family home and family-use property. Parties often file for a Limited Divorce to gain access to the Courts when the separation has not been for 12 months. 

An Absolute Divorce is known as a “final” divorce. The major difference between a limited and absolute divorce is that, in an absolute divorce proceeding, the parties have access to the benefits of the Marital Property Act. The division of marital property cannot be accomplished in a limited divorce. As time passes, a Limited Divorce can be amended to seek an Absolute Divorce.

It is important to note that there is no such thing in Maryland as a Court proceeding for a “legal separation.” You are legally married to your spouse until you are issued a Judgment of Absolute Divorce. To resolve your separation legally, parties can enter into a Separation or Marital Settlement Agreement.

Grounds for a Limited Divorce are:

  • Cruelty of treatment towards a party or minor child;

  • Excessively vicious conduct towards the complaining party or minor child;

  • Desertion; or

  • Separation, if the parties are living apart without cohabitation.


Grounds for an Absolute Divorce are:

  • Adultery (defined as sexual intercourse between a married person and person other than a lawful spouse);

  • Desertion, if it has continued for more than 12 months prior to filing;

  • Felony or Misdemeanor conviction if before filing the opposing party has been sentenced to three or more years in prison and has already served 12 months of the sentence;

  • A 12-month physical separation prior to filing;

  • Insanity (if the insane spouse has been confined to a mental institution for at least three years and insanity is incurable);

  • Cruelty of treatment towards the complaining party or a minor child, if no reasonable hope or expectation of reconciliation; or

  • Mutual consent of the parties with a signed agreement addressing all issues arising out of the marriage.

While one party must testify in support of the grounds for divorce, with the exception of adultery grounds, you do not need a witness to corroborate that testimony. 

It is very important to understand the differences between the types of divorces in Maryland, the evidence you need to establish the grounds for divorce, and the types of relief you can obtain when filing for divorce. 


As experienced divorce lawyers in Baltimore, Towson, and Maryland, Wasserman Family Law works with clients to determine the best strategy to file for and obtain a divorce.  

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