In Maryland there are two types of divorce that can occur which are: an absolute divorce (a divorce in vincula matrimonii) and a limited divorce (a divorce a mensa et throro). Absolute divorce means a divorce that terminates or end the marriage where both parties are able to remarry. A limited divorce grants the right to live separate and apart, but they remain married until they go through an absolute divorce.
Provided that a limited divorce does not end a marriage, the question I always receive from people is that what the entire purpose of a limited divorce. As you can see from the statutes, the grounds for filing a limited divorce is different from absolute divorce. To be awarded an absolute divorce, there has to be fault grounds like adultery or the spouses should have lived separate and apart for at least one year. If spouse have issues with the marriage on which they cannot agree upon, but has not met the requirement for an absolute divorce, then one party can file for a limited divorce. In a limited divorce, the issues the court can render a decision over would be support, custody, personal property and use and possession of the home and its personal property.
At a later point in time, if the parties do meet the requirement for the grounds for absolute divorce, the parties can amend the complaint into an absolute divorce. For instance, a petition for limited divorce has been filed, and the pleading is still active, and then year separation occurs, where the pleading can be amended to an absolute divorce. Many clients see us where they claim is not ripe for an absolute divorce, so its best to draft a petition for limited divorce. If you are contemplating a divorce and do not know what to do. It is best to speak an attorney to see if an absolute divorce or limited divorce is your best option. You want to contact a knowledgeable attorney in Maryland. Call the Soubra Law Firm at 301-219-5038.