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If you are considering filing for divorce in Maryland, your filing must include the grounds, or basis, for the divorce. Beginning this fall, selecting the grounds when filing for divorce will become an easier determination. During the 2023 Legislative Session, the General Assembly passed bills eliminating limited divorce in Maryland and changing the grounds available for an absolute divorce. On May 16, 2023, Governor Moore signed Senate Bill 36,which was cross-filed with House Bill 14, into law. The new version of Md. Code, Family Law § 7-103 will become effective on October 1, 2023, and will apply to all divorce cases filed on or after that date.

Current Law through September 20, 2023

Maryland law currently provides for two different types of divorce: limited divorce and absolute divorce. An absolute divorce is a permanent end to the marriage. An absolute divorce severs all legal ties between the parties and allows the parties to resume use of a former name or remarry if they choose. In contrast, a limited divorce does not end the marriage. A limited divorce allows a person who does not satisfy the grounds for absolute divorce and cannot reach an agreement with their spouse to ask the court to order temporary relief regarding child custody, child support, alimony, and use of real or personal property. Because a limited divorce is not a permanent end to the marriage, the court may revoke a limited divorce at any time if both spouses jointly request that the limited divorce be revoked. The differences between these two types of divorce and the grounds for each are explained in more detail in Common Questions about Divorce in Maryland.

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