If you are separated but not divorced, you may be surprised to know that the law still gives your estranged spouse considerable control over your life and your estate when you pass away, no matter how long you’ve been living apart. That means if you die without getting divorced, your spouse could come in and run the show, even if everyone else in the family objects.
Don’t let that happen.
An experienced family law attorney at Carmiece Graves Law can help you get arrangements settled to protect yourself and your loved ones regardless of what the future may bring.
What Happens When You Pass Away While Still Married
It doesn’t matter if your estranged spouse is living a life of depravity and you haven’t seen them in decades. In the eyes of the law, you are a happily married couple. You are not a single individual but part of a partnership. You can’t disinherit your spouse—at the very least, they will get half of your estate. Your children might be furious, but they will not be able to change the law, and the law says your spouse is entitled to at least half.
Bad living may have put your estranged spouse in terrible health. You may be certain you’re going to outlive them. But are you willing to risk your family’s future on that gamble?
You Can’t Be “Legally Separated” in Maryland
You might consider yourself thoroughly and completely separated from your spouse. You might have lived in separate homes since a time when cell phones were the size of a brick. Your separation from your spouse provides grounds for a divorce, but it does not make you legally separated. Maryland law does not grant legal separations.
There is no common law separation. Living separate lives does not change your legal status. The only way to effectively disentangle your life and finances from your estranged spouse is to get a divorce.
You Can Get a Limited Divorce
If you are living separate and apart and not ready for an absolute divorce, Maryland law allows you to get a limited divorce. A limited divorce decree in Maryland can provide a way to separate finances and resolve other critical issues.
Ideally, however, it is best to work toward an absolute divorce from an estranged spouse. If divorce is not an option for you, a knowledgeable attorney may be able to use estate planning tools to provide a solution.
To Protect Yourself, Talk to a Dedicated Family Lawyer at the Law Office of Carmiece Graves About Your Options
The experienced team at Carmiece Graves Law knows every family situation is different. We are ready to create custom solutions to meet your needs and protect your interests regardless of your circumstances. Talk to us today to learn more about how we could help.