When your marriage is ending in Maryland, there are four different ways you can choose to separate. Besides considering the benefits and drawbacks of each type, you should also keep your goals and unique situation in mind when divorcing.
Absolute divorce works when you and your spouse have been living apart for at least a year and have no intention of reconciling. To file for an absolute divorce, you must first meet the residency requirements of Maryland. This means that you or your spouse must have lived here for at least six months before your divorce.
There is no such thing as legal separation in Maryland, but limited divorce is somewhat similar. With this type, your marriage does not completely end; instead, it allows you to live apart from your spouse and make arrangements for child custody, child support, spousal support, and property division.
A collaborative divorce is a type of divorce where you and your spouse work together with attorneys to reach an agreement on all aspects of your divorce. To begin the process of a collaborative divorce in Maryland, both parties must sign a contract agreeing to participate in good faith and not go to court. If you cannot reach an agreement through the collaborative process, you will have to hire new attorneys and start over.
A contested divorce occurs when you and your spouse do not agree on all aspects of the divorce, and you have to go to court to have a judge decide these issues for you. Fault and no-fault grounds can come into play here.
As you can see, the courthouse is not the only place to get a divorce in Maryland. There are types that allow you to explore other options like arbitration or mediation.