The word “separation” causes some confusion because it is used in three different contexts in Maryland.

1. Separation is one of the no-fault grounds for divorce in Maryland. It can be voluntary separation for one year, meaning you both agree, or involuntary separation for two years, meaning one of you disagrees. In this context separation means physical separation or living in two different places.

2. A separation agreement is a written contract between spouses. It is a marital settlement agreement resolving all issues of the marriage and divorce.

3. People sometimes use the term “legal separation.” In the District of Columbia, a legal separation is a court proceeding to establish temporary support or visitation. In Maryland, we have a similar proceeding, but it is called a limited divorce.

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