What Is a Limited Divorce?
The Facts You Need to Know
Marital woes are common amongst most couples today. In some cases, these problems may be enough to file for divorce, in other cases, legal separation may be the preferred option.
While many couples choose to work their problems, some couples need the space and perspective that separation offers. This is where a limited divorce could be a good temporary solution.
But what is a limited divorce? How is it different from absolute divorce and what are your obligations? Find out everything you need to know in this blog.
What is a Limited Divorce, Exactly?
In short, this is a good option if you are not quite sure if you want to permanently divorce your spouse. A limited divorce is more commonly known as legal separation.
A limited divorce offers a few more benefits than an absolute divorce, hence the reason why it's so popular. When you file for a limited divorce, this means that spouses no longer have to live together, but they can remain married. During a limited divorce, a couples' separation period is supervised by the court.
But why stay married?
Some couples need a ''trial run'' of separation before they finally decide on absolute divorce. Separation offers a good chance to determine whether you can reconcile your issues, and determine whether divorce is the best option.
Bear in mind that the court still has the power to divide marital assets, assign child custody, and child support requirements during a limited divorce. Limited divorce is also known by other common names such as qualified divorce, partial divorce, and divorce from bed and board.
But before you make a decision about limited or absolute divorce, it's best to find a divorce lawyer who can advise you on the legal rights and limitations of both.
The Benefits of Limited Divorce
Aside from not being ready for absolute divorce, as well as the possibility of reconciliation, there are a few other reasons why couples choose limited divorce.
Some of these include:
- Health coverage -- as long as you are still legally married, spouses are entitled to coverage under a work-related health insurance policy
- Tax benefits -- because you are still legally married, you can file your income tax return jointly, as a married couple. As a result, both spouses receive tax benefits
- Religious affiliations -- some religions forbid the concept of divorce, therefore a couple can choose a limited divorce as an option to not live together, but still abide by religious beliefs
In order to file for a limited divorce, both partners have to be on the same page. You cannot file for a limited divorce separately. In some cases of infidelity, a husband cannot have an affair, leave his partner, and file for a limited divorce. In this situation, the court would view the marriage as beyond repair, and grant an absolute divorce.
Your Legal Rights During Limited Divorce
In some cases, a limited divorce may also be used for financial relief, or when a couple is unable to settle their differences privately. It's also worth noting that you do not have to get a limited divorce before you file for an absolute divorce.
Although less severe and final that an absolute divorce, there are a few legal stipulations that come with limited divorce, such as:
- You cannot remarry anyone else
- A limited divorce does not affect/terminate property claims but can help settle these claims
- The court documents your date of separation
- The court is able to make decisions about alimony, possession of property, child custody, and support
- You can only remain in a state of limited divorce for a certain period of time, depending on your state
- The court has the power to revoke a limited divorce at any time
What about the couple and their interactions together, even if they get to live apart? A limited divorce means that cannot engage in sexual activity with your partner, without restarting your separation period. Sexual relations between a spouse and a third party is still considered adultery.
If your spouse dies during your separation period, you are still entitled to inherit property, finances, and other items.
What is the Process of Obtaining a Limited Divorce?
In order to file for a limited divorce, both partners must be aware and willing to do so. You will also have to meet your state's residency requirements and other prescribed laws. Bear in mind that some states do not even recognize limited divorce. So, it's best to talk to your lawyer about these laws and your options before you decide on a limited divorce.
Some of the most commonly accepted grounds for accepting limited divorce include:
- Violence and abuse within the relationship
- Cruelty within the relationship
- Abandonment by either partner
- Voluntary separation
If the court decides your marriage is worth saving, they may ask you to undergo couples' marriage therapy to see if your relationship is salvageable during your separation period.
The entire process is similar to that of absolute divorce. You will need to get a divorce lawyer, offer your divorce petition to the court, and acquire a court order in order to become legally separated.
So, what happens when a limited divorce is granted by the court?
The court views you as a ''single'' person, even though you are still married on paper. Despite this, it still means that you cannot remarry, or date, according to the court system. In order to do so, you will have to file for absolute divorce and legally end your marriage.
Transform Your Mental and Emotional Wellbeing Right Here
So, what is a limited divorce? In summary, it allows you to live separately. But you cannot live like a ''single'' person as you are still legally married. This plays an integral role in how an absolute divorce case is handled down-the-line, should you choose to go that route.
Going through separation or divorce can be very taxing -- both emotionally and mentally. If you're looking for inspirational content on personal growth to help you through, explore the rest of this site for more.