If you are not ready to file for an absolute divorce but want to separate from your spouse, there are a few ways you can do this and you can discuss them with an experienced MD divorce attorney.

If you are not yet ready to file for an absolute divorce or simply don’t meet one or more of the grounds to do so but want to make your separation from your spouse a more “legal” one, there are two ways you can do this. The first is by filing for a limited divorce and the second involves creating a separation agreement. To help you decide which option might be best for you, we are providing for you below some basic information pertaining to each although we do recommend you also consult with a divorce attorney before taking any action on your own.


What is a limited divorce and do I know if I qualify to file for it?


A limited divorce is “a legal action in which the court supervises a couple’s separation” and it is “designed for individuals who do not yet have grounds for absolute divorce, needs financial relief, and are unable to settle their differences privately” [Source: The Maryland Department of Human Services]. During the limited divorce proceedings, the court shall determine which party is at fault, given that one is, and support may be awarded to one spouse. The proceedings will also address child custody, child support, health insurance coverage, and the division of real and personal property.

Essentially, a limited divorce is very similar to an absolute divorce, however, unlike an absolute divorce, the couple would still be legally married after the proceedings have concluded which means neither party has the right to engage in sexual relations with another person nor can they remarry. In order to obtain a limited divorce, the court does require that you prove at least one of the following grounds:


  1. Cruelty of treatment of the complaining spouse or a minor child of the complaining party.
  2. Excessively vicious conduct to the complaining party or a minor child of the complaining party.
  3. Mutual and voluntary separation.

[Source: The Maryland Department of Human Services].


If you think you qualify to file for a limited divorce or wish to learn more about it, contact Barkley & Kennedy today to speak with a Rockville, MD divorce attorney.


 What is the purpose of a separation agreement?


When there is little hope that a couple will reconcile their marriage but they aren’t prepared to file for divorce just yet, they may enter into a separation agreement. This agreement can be oral or written and it shall address the following:


  • The care, custody, and support of the children.
  • The amount of support one spouse will provide to the other.
  • Provisions for the continuation of health insurance benefits.
  • How property shall be divided while both parties are living separately, including what will happen to the property upon divorce.

[Source: The Maryland Department of Human Services].


If you and your spouse want to make your separation more “legal,” contact a Rockville divorce law firm to find out how.

Although a separation agreement addresses many of the issues that are resolved in a limited and absolute divorce, a separation agreement isn’t quite as formal as either. In fact, if a couple is able to repair their marriage, they can revoke their separation agreement simply by living together as husband and wife again. However, when a separation agreement is active, it does not imply that marriage has been terminated nor does it permit either party to remarry or engage in sexual relations with another individual.


If you think this type of agreement is what you and your spouse needs, the Rockville, MD divorce lawyers at Barkley & Kennedy can help you properly prepare a separation agreement. In the event you would like help filing for divorce or have additional questions pertaining to a separation agreement, you can always reach a lawyer by calling 301-251-6600.


You can reach Barkley & Kennedy at:


51 Monroe Street, #1407

Rockville, MD 20850

Phone: 301-251-6600


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