What is Legal Separation? 

What is Legal Separation? 

A legal separation is referred as a court order that gives married couples a chance to live separately with similar obligations and rights like those provided to divorced couples. Legal separation in MD offers married couples an option to to live separately in the event that they are not willing to end their marriage. This division is also provided if the married couples do not want to divorce as a result of financial, moral, or religious reasons. The benefit to separating legally is to ensure that there is an opportunity for reconciliation if the parties involved reach an agreement.

Before the courts in MD authorize for a legal division of marriage, the parties involved are supposed to put firth efforts in order to reconcile. The courts give recommendation the parties should follow through the reconciliation process. One important thing to note is that in MD, a legal separation is not needed for couples to be considered as separated. The
filing helps have a legal document that can be referred to in courts in case the couples make the decision to divorce.

Another important thing to note is that the dividing of this legal union does not protect either party from abuse. This is why a restraining order is vital, but the process of obtaining it is totally separate. To get the restraining order, the application should be done at the right time for the entire process to move smoothly.

Reasons to Separate Legally in MD

In MD, the reasons for a legal separation include inhuman and cruel treatment, willful desertion, living separately and apart without cohabitation or voluntary separation. The grounds for the separation are provided by the Family Law, Section 7-102. This separation can be temporary or permanent.

The Legal Agreement

A separation agreement refers to a contract that is binding legally. It is usually signed by all involved parties. It aims to resolve issues that might arise in terms of debt, child custody, and property issues. Depending on the marriage situation, the document can be detailed and complex. This agreement can be prepared by the spouses, or they can hire an attorney to help in the process.

Residency of the petitioner

To file for legal separation, the petitioner is supposed to be a resident of MD when making the filing. In case the reasons for the filing for the separation occurred in a different state, the petitioner must reside in Maryland for at least a year to be permitted.


The petitioner is a supposed to file a complaint to be separated by law. In case there are child or spousal issues involved, a child support and financial statement worksheet must be provided.

Filing procedure

The legal separation paperwork including the complaint and summons should be served by any adult above eighteen years or the sheriffs office.  However, the petitioner cannot do the filing. In case another person or a private company is used, they should be given the right Affidavit of Service form and a copy of Writ of Summons. The person should file a completed form and the Writ with the clerk in the court, when the service is done.