OK, totally confused (re: separation in MD) — The Bump
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OK, totally confused (re: separation in MD)

I know a couple of you here are from MD and I've got a question.

I have an appt with a lawyer Jan. 10 to find out the steps to file for legal separation. However, I've done some reading online and saw a couple of things.

1- In order to file the couple must be living apart

2- Most couples don't file for separation. They live apart during the 1 yr waiting pd for filing for divorce (I guess just living apart is legal enough?)

And it says that as long as it is mutual between the couple that one person leaves you can have an uncontested divorce which is basically just paperwork.

Does that all sound correct?

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Re: OK, totally confused (re: separation in MD)

  • I filed for separation so I could get spousal maintenance, child support, and a custody agreement. 

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  • I live in MD, but my divorce case was a little different than yours.  But from what I gathered from my lawyer, what you said is pretty correct.

    You can file for a Limited Divorce which is MD's version of legal separation.  Then after the 1 year waiting period, you can go ahead with an Absolute Divorce.  Yes, as long as it isn't contested, it is just a matter of paperwork.  I only had to go to court once.  The court gave me a date to start my proceedings.  When I arrived, I asked my lawyer if I could just give my testimony of why I was filing for a divorce that day.  The Judge allowed it, and then I waived the 10 day "I change my mind" waiting period, and in 2 weeks after the court date, I had my divorce decree in hand!

    I was able to skip the Limited Divorce/legal separation, because I had evidence to show the court that I was not "safe" in my marriage and wanted an Absolute Divorce.  So I was able to skip the 1 year waiting period.

     Good luck!

  • In NC there is no such thing as legal separation. You have to be separated (living in separate residences) for one year, and then you can be granted an absolute divorce. Although, they don't actually make you PROVE that you've been separately living for a year, so if both of you agreed to say that you've been apart for a year, then you could divorce immediately.

    STBXH and I will be divorced on 10/25/11, b/c that's a year from the day he moved out. In the meantime, we are in the process of getting a separation agreement that is legal and will carry over once the divorce is finalized.

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  • I live in Baltimore and got divorced four years ago. My ex was gay and I thought things would go smoothly, but he put up a huge fight. In the end, however, I got most of what I wanted.

    You can actually do a separation agreement first so you can hammer out the details. If he agrees and signs, it will just become part of your final divorce decree. A lot of courts prefer for the parties to work out the details before filing as it makes for a much smoother process.

    There was a state legislator who was trying to change the laws to allow couples to live together but legally separate because it is so expensive to maintain two households while trying to end a marriage. I am not sure where that went, but it's worth asking your attorney about. My ex and I lived together for a few years while separated, but this is NOT ideal. We didn't have kids and I just wanted out but couldn't afford to live on my own at the time.

    The separation agreement gave me a guaranteed income that I used with my work income to move out and live on my own. When that year was up, I filed for my divorce. Of course, my ex suddenly "lost" the separation agreement (we wrote it up, had it notarized but never filed it with the courts) and he tried to cut me off financially. That is why you should file that sucker as soon as you can. That way he can't back down or out of anything.

    We got a court date about five months after our filing (Baltimore County). We had one hearing and had to take a witness (my evil ex-MIL was happy to oblige since she hated me and blamed me for her son being gay). A month later, our divorce was finalized.

    Whatever questions you have, write them down and take them with you to your appointment. Laws change almost daily and you might find things have changed in your favor. Good luck! 

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  • image jenhum:

    In NC there is no such thing as legal separation. You have to be separated (living in separate residences) for one year, and then you can be granted an absolute divorce. Although, they don't actually make you PROVE that you've been separately living for a year, so if both of you agreed to say that you've been apart for a year, then you could divorce immediately.

    STBXH and I will be divorced on 10/25/11, b/c that's a year from the day he moved out. In the meantime, we are in the process of getting a separation agreement that is legal and will carry over once the divorce is finalized.

    DD1 01.19.07
    DD2 11.17.08

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  • image jenhum:

    In NC there is no such thing as legal separation. You have to be separated (living in separate residences) for one year, and then you can be granted an absolute divorce. Although, they don't actually make you PROVE that you've been separately living for a year, so if both of you agreed to say that you've been apart for a year, then you could divorce immediately.

    STBXH and I will be divorced on 10/25/11, b/c that's a year from the day he moved out. In the meantime, we are in the process of getting a separation agreement that is legal and will carry over once the divorce is finalized.

    My North Carolina lawyer helped me with the separation and I am in fact legally separated.  Our separation agreement is signed and notarized.  I'm not sure where your info came from that NC doesn't acknowledge legal separation but you might want to check that.

    LEGAL SEPARATION:

    North Carolina recognizes legal separation, provided, that the separation agreement must be in writing and acknowledged by both parties before a certifying officer. [Based on North Carolina General Statutes, Chapter 50, Section 52-10.1]

    DD1 01.19.07
    DD2 11.17.08

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