What Is an Absolute Divorce?
It seems that this would be a non-issue, but the fact is there are actually two kinds of divorce by law: a limited divorce, and an absolute divorce.
So What’s the Difference?
First off, let’s get the grounds for divorce down in writing here. To understand what an ‘absolute divorce’ means, these are some of the requirements necessary for a family court to issue out the decree:
All or just one of these requirements are necessary for an absolute divorce to be granted. Some states require more; others require less; and still others don’t have any requirements for anything in regards to an ‘absolute’ divorce.
The bottom line is divorce is divorce, no matter where you go. But what many have to realize is that there’s a process by which a divorce petition goes through that prohibits either party in a marriage to remarry, move out of state, or sell any property.
That leads us to the ‘second’ type of divorce that exists….
The Idea Behind a ‘Limited’ Divorce
You might see this especially in the state of Maryland, but the reality is it exists in most every state. The fact is a divorce is never final until a waiting period is finished by which the entire petition then enters into court and the decision is then made.
During that entire period of time, a married couple may not sell any belongings, obtain new insurance, sell old insurance, remarry, sell property, or obtain new property. During that time, legally the two parties are still married! Even if practically they’re ‘divorced.’
That’s the idea behind a ‘limited divorce.’ It simply gets the ball rolling, allowing both spouses to get everything from property distribution to child custody to child support handled right away before the final ruling, before it’s made official.
Why It’s Called an ‘Absolute’ Divorce
There are reasons why there are certain grounds for an ‘absolute divorce,’ such as desertion. Typically, when facing any regular divorce petition, for example if one spouse willfully deserts the other without the other’s consent, it could be argued that an ‘absolute’ divorce be granted, obviously. Of course, certain requirements exist for ‘desertion,’ but for the purposes of this article they’re not relevant.
The point is the reason behind the divorce can determine whether or not it’s ‘absolute.’
Some states, though, don’t make that distinction. They either call it a “fault” divorce, or a “no-fault” divorce, in which case both are considered ‘absolute,’ just for different reasons.
For instance: a “no-fault” divorce in some states is simply where two spouses choose to dissolve the marriage based on irreconcilable differences or a simple ‘breakdown’ of the marriage. There’s no ‘fault’ on either spouse; therefore, it’s considered a “no-fault.”
“Fault” divorces apply those same basic requirements as an ‘absolute’ divorce, such as desertion, voluntary separation, cruelty, etc. etc.. The only difference is some states apply certain stipulations, such as withholding visitation rights, alimony, and even child custody.
The bottom line is this: for the most part, the idea of an ‘absolute divorce’ is a practical term.