Recently a potential client came to our office to discuss his options for seeking a divorce. In Maryland, there are several grounds for an absolute divorce including a one (1) year separation, desertion (actual and construction), insanity, conviction of a crime, cruelty of treatment / excessively vicious conduct, and adultery. During the consultation, our family law attorney obtained information about the marriage, the reason for separation, the length of separation, etc. to determine what ground(s) may be applicable in this case.
Unfortunately, the potential client was not yet eligible to file a Complaint for Absolute Divorce because the applicable grounds in his case all required that he and his wife be separated for at least twelve (12) months prior to filing the Complaint. However, just because he couldn’t file his Complaint yet didn’t mean our family law attorneys weren’t able to start helping him with his case immediately. Our attorneys suggested entering in to negotiations to try and reach a type of agreement called a Voluntary Separation and Property Settlement.
A Voluntary Separation and Property Settlement Agreement can be a global agreement, which means the agreement resolves all outstanding issues related to the Parties divorce. Or, it can only resolve some issues leaving the remaining contested issues for the Court to decide – this is called a partial agreements. Issues that are commonly covered by a Voluntary Separation and Property Settlement Agreement include the grounds for divorce, alimony / spousal support, custody, child support, and division of marital property.