We were married in Pennsylvania, she is a PA resident and I am a MD Resident. she has her own place in PA and I have my own in MD. She has not resided with me for 2 months. By refusing to sign separation paperwork I am at a stalemate. is there a way to move forward and get the required legal separation without her signature?I have been a MD resident for 15 months and we have no children. She is a PA resident, she moved here after the wedding (4 months) but maintained residency in PA. I want to move on with my life but am afraid that if I get into another relationship, she will use it against me and say I was cheating. we have only been married 6 months and she has been gone for the last two, prior to that she would disappear for 8-10 days at a time.
Maryland does not have "legal separations." If there are minor children involved or if you are seeking alimony you can file for a limited divorce to have those issues involved. Otherwise, unless your wife cheated on you or there are allegations of cruelty, you will have to wait 12 months from the time you separated to file for an absolute divorce and have the court make a decision on what to do with the property and other issues that arises from a separation. You also have to be a resident of Maryland for 12 months before you can file either a limited divorce or absolute divorce. The laws of PA may be different (meeting that your wife does not have to be a resident of PA for 12 months and there can be a shorter waiting period for a no-fault divorce). You would do well to first consult with an attorney in PA and then depending on what they say, perhaps an attorney in MD.
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If you have grounds for an immediate absolute divorce, you may file for one. These grounds include adultery, cruel and vicious behavior which was extreme, and others which you have not indicated in your question. If you have temporary issues, particularly if you have children and custody, visitation and child support are at issue, you may file for a limited divorce based on living separate and apart. If not you will need to wait a year and a day before you can file the paperwork for an absolute divorce and can try to work out an agreement in the meantime.
You may file for an Absolute Divorce once you have lived separate for more than one year, or you may file immediately if there is adultery or cruel and vicious conduct. You must reside in Maryland for one year prior to filing for an Absolute Divorce. Check with an attorney for various strategies which can benefit you.
This is NOT legal advice, is GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY, and does NOT establish an Attorney/Client Relationship with you. Therefore my answer cannot address your specific legal situation and you should not rely upon my answer in your legal matter. I am an attorney licensed in Maryland and California.
Don't worry. This is easy to solve. She has not established residency in PA because she has only lived there for 2 months. Thus, she is still MD resident. And don't worry about her not wanting to sign separation agreement. You should proceed in the following manner: schedule an appointment with family law attorney. File Petition for Limited Divorce and get her served in PA. Then you sealed MD jurisdiction so that you dont have to hire Pa lawyer to fight a divorce in PA...that will be costly for you. So then she will have to Answer your Petition for limited divorce and then after 1 year you will get divorced. However because it seems to me she is being difficult to deal with, you may find that she will continue to be difficult and you will end up fighting over money...i.e. property. Savy attorney will be able to help you a lot.
Although your facts establish "abandonment", in Maryland that is not an immediate ground for divorce, and you must wait one year of separation before filing for divorce makes any sense. Filing for an annulment would be another possibility, but your facts to not suggest a basis for that. If there is adultery or cruel and vicious conduct on her part, and you can prove it, then you would have immediate grounds. Best to meet with counsel and obtain advice on how to safeguard your separate property and strategize to protect yourself going forward, and to lay the groundwork for a manageable divorce when the time is ripe. I am not familiar with PA law, so you may inquire of PA lawyers whether there is a faster or simpler method in that state which is not available here. It is unclear from your question where the domicile of the marriage was located, which may impact which state is the appropriate jurisdiction to file a divorce action.
If you lived in Maryland together as man and wife, you can file for divorce in this state.
Maryland appears to have personal jurisdiction over your wife . However she may contest this issue. You probably need advice from a lawyer who can closely examine the facts.
Regardless of whether Maryland has personal jurisdiction over your wife, you can obtain a divorce in Maryland. This would clear you of any charges of adultery. However it would not resolve the financial matters between you. That requires a lawsuit in a court that has personal jurisdiction over both of you. If that sounds somewhat complicated, I again suggest that a lawyer should sort it out for you.
You have to be separated for one year to obtain an absolute divorce. However you can file now for a limited divorce.
Filing now will begin to move your case forward. If you cannot get her to sign a separation agreement, you have a disputed case that will required a trial on all disputed issues. Most jurisdictions in Maryland will issue a scheduling order that sets aside time for discovery and a settlement conference. It may be best to file and serve her with a summons and pleadings without too much delay.
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