How Do I Get a Legal Separation?

I am often asked, “How do you get a legal separation in Maryland?” The answer is surprisingly simple. In Maryland, there is no such thing. That’s right. Maryland does not have anything called a “legal separation.” But that doesn’t mean that spouses cannot separate. In Maryland, a separation is defined as a period of time in which spouses are BOTH:

  • Not sleeping under the same roof, which generally means in the same house or dwelling, AND
  • Not engaging in sex with each other.

Both of the above criteria must exist simultaneously. As long as neither of those two things are occurring, then the parties are separated. If either of those two things occurs even once, the separation period stops and starts over.

Maryland does not have a method of legally or officially recognizing or tracking when couples are separated. If you wish to begin a separation from your spouse in preparation for a possible divorce proceeding, you merely need to comply with the above two criteria for a separation and remember the start date.

It’s as simple as that.


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