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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
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Do I need a legal separation before filing

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Do I need a "legal separation" before filing with the court for a divorce if it has been one year and a day since we have been apart???
No. In Maryland, the grounds for divorce are as follows:

A permanent and final divorce is called an "absolute divorce" in Maryland. All divorces require proof of grounds. If you are filing for divorce, you need to have your grounds before you file. If you cannot prove your grounds for divorce, accusing your spouse of these grounds may be grounds for the award of legal fees to your spouse. Pending the final divorce you should not do anything to give your spouse any grounds for divorce because it can probably be used against you. In Maryland you cannot be living separate and apart under the same roof. Other jurisdictions may provide for separation under the same roof but this is difficult to prove.

The grounds for an "absolute" or final divorce in Maryland are as follows:

1. One Year's Mutual and Voluntary Separation. Living separate and apart for one year without interruption.
2. Two Year's Involuntary Separation. Living separately and apart for two years without interruption.
3. Adultery.
4. Desertion. For one full year without legal cause, actual or constructive (you are forced to leave by the behavior of your spouse).
5. Conviction of a Felony or Misdemeanor. Requires incarceration for one year under a sentence of three or more years.
6. Insanity. Confined to a mental institution for at least three years.
7. Cruelty.
8. Excessively Vicious Conduct.

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