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Baltimore & Towson Lawyer Discusses The Meaning of

Written by Amar Weisman » November 14, 2014 »

Many people use the words "divorce" and "separation" interchangeably when they discuss couples who are choosing to go their separate ways. But your Baltimore and Towson family law attorney knows that under Maryland law, separation and divorce have two different and distinct meanings that should not be confused. It is important for parting couples to understand that separation is not the same as divorce. Rather, separation is a reason for divorce.

The Laws Regarding Separation in Maryland

Under state law, there are two kinds of separations: voluntary and two-year separations. For a couple to obtain a divorce based on a voluntary separation, the spouses will only be expected to voluntarily live in separate residences, have no real hope of reconciling and refrain from sexual relations with each other. If those steps are taken, the couple may be able to obtain what is known as a "limited" divorce on the grounds of voluntary separation.

Alternatively, couples seeking an "absolute" divorce on the grounds of voluntary separation will be required to voluntarily live apart in separate residences and refrain from sexual relations for a period of at least 12 consecutive months prior to filing for divorce and have no reasonable hope for reconciliation.

Your Baltimore and Towson family law attorney will tell you that those seeking an absolute divorce based on a two-year separation will require the spouses to live in separate residences without having sexual contact with each other for a minimum of two years prior to their divorce filing.

Understanding the Nature of Voluntariness

It is important for separating couples to understand there is a distinction between the two types of separation, namely the voluntariness requirement. In Maryland, any couple seeking a divorce based on "voluntary" separation must first agree to the separation. That means that both individuals agree to the separation on their own, without feeling coerced or threatened by another, and they both want to end the marriage.

However, with respect to a "two-year" separation, even if one party has not agreed to the separation and is not willing to end the union, the other party will still be allowed to obtain a divorce after two years of separation.

Living Under the Same Roof in Separate Beds Does Not Qualify

The rules of separation are quite clear and very strict in Maryland. Sleeping in separate bedrooms will not suffice to be considered separated under state law. Separating couples must keep in mind that even though they will need to live apart in different homes and refrain from having sex with each other during the separation, they are, in fact, still married until a Judgment of Divorce is entered.

Parting couples must follow the separation rules because to obtain a no-fault divorce based on separation, the party seeking the divorce will still be required to demonstrate that all divorce requirements have been met. If the filing party cannot show that he or she has lived separate and apart from the other spouse and refrained from sexual contact for the necessary period of time, the judge will not grant the divorce.

If you have been separated from your spouse and you have questions about how your separation might affect your ability to obtain a divorce, contact a Baltimore and Towson family law attorney at the Law Offices of Amar Weisman, LLC today for details.

Call (410) 321-4994 For a Free Consultation 

Call The Law Offices of Amar S. Weisman at (410) 321-4994 to schedule a Free ConsultationThe Purpose of the consultation is to determine whether you want to retain this law firm as your Baltimore County & Harford County Family Lawyer. If you do wish to proceed, then you must pay a retainer. See Our Policy on Fees and Costs. The family firm is located next to The Circuit Court for Baltimore County, at 1018 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson, MD 21204.