limited divorce is a judicial proceeding in which the court oversees the separation of a marriage. It is usually reserved for those who do not have grounds for an absolute divorce, require financial assistance and are unable to settle their disputes privately.

Read the article to know the laws regarding limited divorce in different states.

What Is a Limited Divorce?

When a court decrees a limited divorce, it signifies that the separation will be temporary. This is referred to as legal separation by some.

A legal separation can be defined as a court order declaring that a couple is no longer living together and that all issues relating to the marriage have been resolved (child custody, child visitation, child support, spousal support, property distribution, attorney fees and personal conduct), but the couple’s marital status remains the same for the moment.

If you meet the following criteria, you may file a limited divorce:

  • You do not meet the criteria for an absolute divorce yet
  • Over the following year, you’d like to settle your disputes discreetly
  • You can’t cope with the financial strain of an absolute divorce

The limited divorce allows you to make interim decisions concerning:

  • Alimony
  • Child custody
  • Child support
  • Health insurance coverage
  • The division and use of personal and real property

What Happens When You File for Limited Divorce?

The parties live apart but are still legally married during a limited divorce.

This means that:

  • Neither spouse is allowed to remarry
  • Between the couples, there is a documented date of separation
  • If the couples have sexual relations after that date, the time limit for achieving an absolute divorce will be reset
  • Adultery is defined as sexual interactions between one spouse and a third party during a limited divorce
  • If one spouse passes away while a limited divorce is in place, the other spouse may be able to inherit their assets
  • The type of ownership for any property you possess as spouses (for example, a house owned as tenants by the couple) will remain the same until the divorce judgment states otherwise

For religious reasons, a limited divorce agreement can be beneficial. A court may award spousal and child support, as well as use and custody of the marital residence and some categories of personal property when a limited divorce is granted.

The court may decide the ownership of personal property or order the sale and split of proceeds under state law, but not real estate property. Minor children’s interim custody may also be determined by the court. In the next section, let’s see the details of limited divorce in some U.S. states.

Limited Divorce in Maryland

Under Maryland, marriage is a civil contract between two people and a divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage that has been ordered by a court. Divorce in Maryland is of two types: absolute or limited.

A married couple must meet statutory residency criteria to get an absolute or limited divorce. To file for a limited divorce in Maryland, you must have lived in the state for at least 12 months and complete the legal requirements. The divorce process initiates when one of the parties files a complaint for absolute divorce or a complaint for limited divorce in the circuit court of the county where the spouse resides.

The Maryland statutes define the permissible grounds or causes for divorce. Only the grounds mentioned in the statutes can be used to grant a divorce. There are two types of grounds: “no fault” grounds, when no wrongdoing is alleged, and “fault” grounds, where one spouse is accused of wrongdoing against the other.

After filing for limited divorce in Maryland according to these grounds, a decree of limited divorce is given and thereafter you can make the temporary decisions about custody of the children, child support, alimony, the use and possession of property, etc. However, it is not necessary to get a limited divorce before you can get an absolute divorce.

Limited Divorce in Florida

In Florida, a limited divorce allows a couple to legally separate while still enjoying many of the privileges of marriage. The court can resolve property disputes, manage child custody, visitation and child support concerns, and order alimony payments in limited divorce processes.

Limited divorces are available to Floridians who desire to split without actually divorcing. A limited divorce allows a married couple to officially end their marriage without the total separation that an absolute divorce entails.

Florida is a no-fault divorce state. This means that either spouse can petition for divorce without having to provide a cause other than the fact that one or both parties no longer want to be married. In circumstances of limited divorce, the same is true.

If you want to have a limited divorce, you have the following three grounds for filing it:

  • cruelty
  • desertion
  • voluntary separation

Thereafter, courts can give primary custody and visitation rights to children. When a couple is officially granted limited divorce, each individual is responsible for their own financial decisions and not the ones made by the other.

Difference Between Limited and Absolute Divorce

An absolute divorce is when a court declares that a marriage is over. As a result, absolute divorce is a judicial dissolution or termination of matrimonial bonds.

It occurs as a result of marital misconduct or another statutory reason that arises after a marriage ceremony, resulting in the parties’ status being changed from coverture to single. An absolute divorce, in other words, is when a marriage comes to an end.

The only way to get an absolute divorce is for the court to rule that all of the legal prerequisites have been met. Until an absolute divorce decision has been entered, remarriage is illegal.

The Perks of Limited Divorce

There are many reasons why a married couple may not want an absolute divorce. They may have religious concerns or want financial benefits available only to married couples, such as a family health plan, pension benefits, or social security benefits. A trial separation with the expectation of reconciliation could be another basis for a restricted or limited divorce.

The marriage is not ended by a limited divorce. Instead, while the couples are apart, a limited divorce sets some legal responsibilities.

In an absolute divorce, the court will rule that your marriage is legally terminated and that you are free to marry again. This sort of divorce also ends all claims to property and is deemed irreversible.

In a limited divorce, instead, you will be granted a non-permanent divorce and will not be able to remarry. You may also be able to resolve property disputes, but they will not be terminated. In essence, a limited divorce just legalizes the separation and allows for temporary alimony and other forms of assistance.

Do You Need To Get Limited Divorce Before Absolute Divorce?

Contrary to popular misconception, you do not have to get a limited divorce before getting an absolute divorce. People commonly believe that a limited divorce is the first stage, and an absolute divorce is the second, but this is not true.

Limited divorce may be a good approach to see if you are making the right decision if you apply for both divorces in this sequence. Some people will get a court-ordered limited divorce and then discover they don’t want to be apart from their spouse. Because the courts did not declare a permanent divorce of your marriage, you can get back together and be subject to all of the legal ramifications of marriage.

When a couple determines that their marriage is no longer sustainable, they frequently seek legal advice and apply for a limited divorce to begin the process. If you are living apart from your spouse, you can petition for a limited divorce right away.

Many divorce cases require the parties to wait a year to prove any of the grounds for an absolute divorce. As a result, most divorces aren’t finalized until the parties have been separated for more than 12 months.

The Grounds of Limited and Absolute Divorce

There is a difference between the grounds of limited divorce and absolute divorce, which are as follows:

Grounds for a limited divorce:

Fault:

  • Cruelty of treatment
  • Excessively vicious conduct
  • Desertion

No-fault:

  • Separation without cohabitation

Grounds for an absolute divorce:

Fault:

  • Adultery
  • Desertion
  • Conviction and incarceration
  • Insanity
  • Cruelty of treatment
  • Excessively vicious conduct

No-fault:

  • 12-month separation without cohabitation
  • Mutual consent

Conclusion

In conclusion, limited divorce is a pathway towards reconciliation of marriage or the end of it. Thus, ensure to step towards limited divorce if you are not entirely sure about getting a divorce and if there is the slightest chance of survival of the marriage.

We conclude the following after reading this article:

  • A limited divorce is when a court orders to declare that a couple is no longer living together and that all issues relating to the marriage have been resolved (child custody, child visitation, child support, spousal support, property distribution, attorney fees, and personal conduct), but the couple’s marital status remains the same.
  • You can file for a limited divorce if you do not have grounds for an absolute divorce, require financial assistance, and are unable to settle disputes privately.
  • According to the Maryland laws, you must have lived in the state for at least 12 months and complete the legal requirements before filing for a limited divorce.
  • According to Florida laws, a limited divorce allows a couple to legally separate while still enjoying many of the privileges of marriage.
  • The major difference between limited divorce and absolute divorce is that absolute divorce is when a marriage comes to an end. The marriage is not ended by a limited divorce.

We hope that you can now make legally informed choices when it comes to limited divorce and absolute divorce.

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Divorce & Finance