Couples in Maryland who are in a failing marriage may be facing the reality that divorce is in their future. The divorce process can be sobering, but it can also provide each spouse with the clean break they need to move forward with a fresh start. It is important to understand the basics of divorce in Maryland, so you can make informed decisions during the divorce process.

Maryland recognizes two types of divorce: limited divorce and absolute divorce. A limited divorce may address certain divorce legal issues, but it does not legally end your marriage. A limited divorce may be sought if certain issues, such as child custody or financial issues, need to be settled before you are eligible to pursue an absolute divorce.

As its name implies, an absolute divorce legally ends your marriage. All divorce legal issues, including property division, spousal support, child custody and child support will be settled. Once the absolute divorce process is complete, each party is free to remarry if they wish.

In either case, a couple must have “grounds,” to divorce. One ground for a limited divorce is separation, in which the couple stops living together and stops having sexual relations, with the intention of ending their marriage. Other grounds for a limited divorce include desertion and cruelty and excessively vicious conduct.

The grounds for an absolute divorce include the grounds for a limited divorce, as well as mutual consent (no-fault divorce), adultery, imprisonment and insanity. To be granted a no-fault divorce, the couple must complete a settlement agreement.

This is only a brief overview of the types of divorce in Maryland and the grounds that these divorces may be based on. It does not provide legal advice on this or other divorce matters. Thus, those who are considering a divorce will want to seek the help of a professional who can guide them through the process of legally ending their marriage.