Anne Arundel County Divorce and Family Law
An absolute divorce completely and permanently ends the marriage. It’s probably what you think of when you hear the word “divorce.” Marital assets are divided and both parties are free to remarry. A judge needs to order a decree of absolute divorce before the marriage is actually over. In order to do this, all matters need to be decided. Sometimes this is easy – both parties can agree on all issues of custody, alimony, and the distribution of property and assets. This is called an uncontested divorce. Sometimes, the parties cannot agree, and the matter is contested in front of a judge.
In order for an absolute divorce to move forward, the parties will need something called grounds for divorce. The grounds for divorce are mutual consent, twelve-month separation, adultery, desertion, cruelty or treatment, incarceration, and insanity. These will be discussed in more detail in a later blog post. Of note for today’s topic, however, is the twelve-month separation. If none of the other grounds apply, then the parties will have to live separate and apart for one full year.
For many people, this is a a simple process. Nothing needs to be filed with the court until a year has passed and both parties are ready to proceed with an absolute divorce. For some, however, it is not as easy. A year is a long time, and it is often difficult for one party to support themselves throughout that year. The parties may disagree on custody or child support through that one year, or who gets to remain in the marital home. In cases such as these, the court will need to get involved earlier than normal. If the parties do not yet have grounds for absolute divorce, but still need financial relief or are otherwise unable to resolve their matters privately, then limited divorce is an appropriate remedy. A limited divorce can establish child support and custody, spousal support (also known as alimony), and use and possession of property such as the marital home.
To ensure you are properly prepared for your divorce, contact us for your free 30 minute consult today!