Period of Separation:
In Maryland, the law was recently changed so that regardless of whether the separation was “voluntary”, the necessary period is the same. Maryland law requires that you live separately for a period of one year. This means no cohabitation. Separation means residing (and sleeping) in different locations at all times.
Separation and “desertion” are two different occurences and grounds in the eyes of the law, Desertion occurs when one party leaves without the intention of returning. A party being forced out is also seen as desertion, known as ”constructive desertion.” “Forced out” can be things such as being kicked out of the house and not allowed to return, or deciding that it is not safe for yourself or your children to continue living in the home. The court will not penalize you for leaving your home to protect yourself or your family.
Should You Separate?
Before you decide that you should separate from your spouse, you should make sure you have tried anything you can think of to make the marriage or home situation better for your family. Did you try all means of communication to try and figure out the problem and work through it together? Often finding someone to talk to, such as a psychologist, social worker, pastor, or trusted family friend may assist in creating an open path for communication.
It is important to consider the effect that separation will have on you and your children. Children observe a lot more than parents give them credit for, and it is quite possible that a separation may be the best thing for their well being.
Make sure you have thought long and hard about a separation before you go through with it. A drastic and emotion decision can have lasting effects on your life moving forward. Consider all the factors that you must figure out before you take action. You life moving forward can play a part in custody arrangements and division of property once separation and divorce is final. Think about what possessions you are going to take, where the children will stay during this difficult time, any financial responsibilities that will continue despite your separating. Regardless of your living situation, there are plenty of bills and responsibilities that will exist even if you do not live under the same roof.
If you and you spouse are in speaking terms, try to discuss the arrangements before you separate. Hopefully, you can agree on the arrangements, and, if possible, put any agreement in writing. Such an agreement can be enforceable in court and will protect your rights. If your spouse does not want a separation or will not agree on specific arrangements, contact an attorney to discuss your options so that you may protect your rights.
You can talk to our DIVORCE ATTORNEY if you are thinking about separating or divorcing your spouse. We can help you understand your options and help you through this difficult time in your marriage. CONTACT US at 410-730-4404 for your FREE CONSULTATION.