In Maryland, there are two types of divorce. There is a Limited Divorce and an Absolute Divorce.  A Limited Divorce is filed to seek temporary child support, alimony, custody, and use and possession of the family home and family-use property. It is mostly used to gain access to the Maryland Court system for parties living separate and apart, but for less than 12 months.

An Absolute Divorce is known as a “final” divorce. The major difference 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 for 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 until you are issued a Judgment of Absolute Divorce. If you want to resolve your separation legally, you can enter into a Separation or Settlement Agreement.

Grounds for a Limited Divorce are:

  • Cruelty of treatment of the complaining party or minor child;

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

  • Desertion; or

  • Separation, if the parties are living separate and 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. 


As experienced Divorce Lawyers in Baltimore, Towson, and Maryland, we work with clients to determine the best strategy to file for and obtain a divorce.