What are grounds for absolute divorce?

In Maryland, there are seven grounds for divorce (to terminate the marriage): adultery; desertion for twelve continuous months; one-year separation; conviction of a felony or misdemeanor with incarceration for at least one year under a sentence of three or more years; insanity, with the spouse institutionalized for at least three years and the insanity is incurable; cruelty of treatment; or excessively vicious conduct.

To be “separated”, spouses must live in separate residences. With limited exception, the separation is interrupted if spouses have sexual relations with one another, resume living together, or even spend one night together under the same roof, regardless of whether or not they sleep in separate bedrooms.

The Maryland Court of Appeals in Ricketts v. Ricketts has carved out an exception to the separation requirement to allow for divorce on grounds of constructive desertion with cessation of marital relations when spouses reside under the same roof in separate bedrooms.

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