The Court of Appeals of Maryland decided in Ricketts v. Ricketts, 903 A2d 857, 393 Md 479 (2006) that a spouse could file and maintain a case for limited divorce and custody even if the couple live together. The Court’s decision in Ricketts stands for the proposition that withholding marital relations could be a ground for limited divorce in Maryland based on constructive desertion, and the parties do not necessarily have to live separate and apart in separate residences to obtain a divorce. The Maryland Court of Appeals essentially reasoned that the requirement that the parties “live apart” before they can file for limited divorce based on constructive desertion should be looked in the context of marriage and it could be defined as “ceasing to live together as husband and wife.” The Court also looked at some precedent and decided that the circuit courts have jurisdiction to decide a custody dispute between divorcing parties even if they live together. The Court cited to the following language from Mower v. Mower, 209 Md. 413, 121 A.2d 185 (1956): Where a complaint for divorce ”also prays for custody of a minor child and for its support and maintenance, and the divorce is denied, the bill should not be dismissed but custody should be awarded and jurisdiction should be retained for the purpose of awarding support and maintenance if the circumstances should warrant such action.”
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