Separating from your spouse can be complicated, especially if you are ready to move on, but he/she is not. One of the best decisions you can make for yourself is to seek legal counsel as soon as you can. There is no such thing as “too soon to see a divorce lawyer,” because the sooner you seek help, the more efficiently we can move your divorce along.

What you need to know, however, is that Maryland does not have formal separation orders, but it does permit a limited divorce, which is similar to a legal separation. The spouses can live apart without being divorced, either indefinitely or until an absolute divorce is finalized.

In a limited divorce, you can make the same decisions you would in an absolute divorce regarding:

  • Child custody and parenting time
  • Child support
  • Alimony
  • The use and possession of the marital home

Can’t I just move out?

You can, but you do not want to wait before hiring an attorney. In order to be legally separated you must live separate and apart without cohabitation. Many times, a spouse left behind will cite “desertion” as a grounds for divorce where a spouse moved out without a mutual understanding; an attorney can advise you about how to separate without creating legal vulnerability.

What will my divorce lawyer do to help me if I want to separate?

Your attorney will help you in several ways. We understand how contentious and upsetting divorces can be. We’ll help guide you by:

  • Addressing your immediate needs. These needs typically include:
    • Obtaining child support for your children and entering into a temporary child custody arrangement.
    • Determining which spouse should stay in the family home
    • Examining how to pay – the bills on the home, a new place to live can, and all the other marital bills and new bills you have
    • Applying for a protective order if necessary
    • Explaining the no sexual intimacy requirement during the 12 month separation
    • Explaining how any new relationships may affect your rights once the divorce is filed
  • Explaining the divorce process. This includes:
    • Discussing alternatives to litigation such as mediation and collaborative divorce
    • Helping you understand what your life will be like after the divorce
    • Explaining what property is considered marital property.
    • Explaining whether property or debts acquired once you separate are marital property or marital debts
  • Helping your plan and prepare for the divorce. Once the divorce starts, you’ll want to have all your ducks lined up. This includes:
    • Understanding your financial priorities such as who keeps the marital home, what happens to any businesses either spouse may have, and your rights to retirement benefits in your name or your spouse’s name
    • Explaining the various types of alimony and your rights regarding alimony.
    • How to best establish your rights to physical and legal custody of your children
    • Reviewing every legal, financial, and practical issue for your divorce

The sooner you contact our experienced Fulton divorce lawyers, the better. At McCabe Russell, PA., we’ll help you understand your rights. We’ll explain what actions might jeopardize your rights. Mostly, we’ll give you peace of mind by guiding you through each phase of your separation and after you file for divorce. We have also have offices in Columbia, Bethesda and Rockville. To speak with a calm respected divorce lawyer, call us at 443-917-3347 or complete our contact form to schedule an appointment.

Read More: What is a Limited Divorce?