While Virginia and D.C. permit spouses to obtain a divorce on no-fault grounds of separation while living in the same house, Maryland still requires them to be living “not under the same roof”.

However, in Maryland you can obtain a divorce on the fault grounds of cruelty, adultery or desertion while living in the same house.

The Ricketts case in 2006 allowed a limited divorce to go forward on grounds of constructive desertion when the parties were living in separate bedrooms in the same house.

We are seeing more Ricketts type cases being filed in our own practice. One question we lawyers were asking each other was whether Ricketts, a limited divorce case, would apply in an absolute divorce. There was really no reason that it should not.

So we asked one of the Montgomery County Family Law Masters. We were told that the Judges and Masters will let all such cases go forward to trial, but warn the parties early in the case that the outcome is fact specific, and the Court may not grant their divorce.

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