A “Limited Divorce” and a “Legal Separation” are basically the same thing. Each allows the two spouses to live apart, though still married. They are both legally binding, and are for the purpose of defining the responsibilities of each of the two spouses involved. They are very restrictive, and should only be utilized in special cases. They may just prolong the agony of a divorce, or they may soften the final blow.
During this procedure, neither of the parties can remarry, and having sex with other people is still considered “Adultery.” However, there are certain advantages to this stoic like existence. Each individual can file separate income tax returns, and a spouse may demand child support, custody of a child, alimony, health insurance, and a division of personal properties such as automobiles. Real estate can be designated as to the living quarters of one or the other, but can not be divided for sale, unless both parties agree upon such a settlement, and the couple still legally remains married. A division of debts can also be decided.
A “Limited Divorce” may be helpful when there are religious restrictions as in Roman Catholicism, where “Absolute Divorce” is only acceptable in cases of adultery.
Sometimes, a “Limited Divorce” can help a couple decide if they really want an “Absolute Divorce.” Many couples suffer from the “Can’t live with them…can’t live without them” syndrome. A limited divorce may ease the transition pain.
It also can help a spouse retain things like military benefits, health insurance, social security benefits, and tax benefits. All of these things can be determined by a court of law.
If one of the parties should die after the “Limited Divorce” decree is decided by a court, the other spouse will still be able to collect his or her inheritance.
In order to attain a “Limited Divorce,” in most states, certain criteria must be met. They are:
- Either physical or mental cruelty
- Malicious conduct
- Agreed upon, amicable separation
If a couple then decides to divorce, the separation agreement can be applied to the final divorce decree.
There are several states that do not allow “Limited Divorce.” They are: Texas, Florida, Delaware, Mississippi, Georgia, and Pennsylvania.