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Can I File for Divorce While Living With My Spouse?

Under certain limited circumstances, you can file for divorce while still living with your spouse.

A spouse can file for an absolute divorce on grounds of adultery while still living together. A spouse can file for a limited or absolute divorce on grounds of abuse (known as "excessively vicious conduct" or "cruelty of treatment") while still living together.

However, in Maryland, before parties are granted a divorce, the Court does not have jurisdiction to grant child custody, support or use and possession of the family home while the parties reside together.

Therefore, if a spouse needs to obtain custody, support or use and possession relief before the divorce, the parties must live in separate residences.


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Maryland law requires equitable distribution of property in a divorce. The court determines a fair award of property and debt. Unless the couple can reach a settlement, the court divides the marital property, pension, retirement, profit sharing or deferred-compensation plans. The court considers contributions of each party, the well being of the family, the property value, the economic circumstances of each spouse as well as current situations such as age, mental state, the duration of the marriage, and the interest each party has in the property.
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