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 by the other spouse while still living together.

A spouse can file for a limited or absolute divorce on grounds of abuse by the other spouse (known as “excessively vicious conduct” or “cruelty of treatment”) or constructive desertion (e.g., refusal of marital relations) while still living together. Under Ricketts v. Ricketts, spouses can now file for a limited or absolute divorce based on constructive desertion (e.g., refusal of marital relations) while still living together under the same roof in separate bedrooms.

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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