Absolute Versus Limited Divorce: 4 Key Differences

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A couple taking off their wedding rings as they getting divorced.

Most people may think there’s only one type of divorce: a divorce that leads to permanent separation. Nevertheless, this isn’t the case as there are different types of divorce, such as absolute and limited divorce.

A court of law provides both these divorces after grounds are provided to qualify for one. However, they both differ in several ways. Suppose you’re looking into filing one. You can reach out to a reputable divorce lawyer, such as Charlotte divorce lawyer, to guide you through the process.

Furthermore, it could be helpful for you to understand what these types are and how they differ. Read on to learn more.


The terms absolute and limited divorce are different as they sound. They both refer to marital separation but in different ways. Absolute divorce refers to a situation whereby the marriage is completely terminated legally. Though this term may be outdated, some people still use it. Yet, most people use the term divorce or marriage dissolution to refer to the end of a marriage.

In absolute divorce, the court addresses every legal issue involved in terminating the marriage. Such concerns may include child support and custody, alimony, and wealth division. Once the formal order has been issued, each spouse preserves their rights but is relieved of those that arose after marriage. One of the rights and privileges the couple no longer shares includes the right to inherit estates.

To file and obtain an absolute divorce, one must meet their state’s residency requirements and have tangible grounds for terminating the marriage. It’s essential to note that residency requirements and grounds for absolute divorce differ depending on the state.

On the other hand, limited divorce refers to a legal marital separation supervised by the court. A limited divorce doesn’t dissolve the marriage. In most cases, it is used by couples who don’t have tangible grounds for absolute divorce, who need financial relief, and those who can’t settle their differences on their own.

Like absolute divorce, individuals seeking limited divorce must meet residency requirements and have solid grounds, among other legal requirements. After a court order a limited or legal separation, the couple remains married though they live separately.

A limited divorce can be indefinite or last for a stipulated period. Additionally, if the couple solves their differences, they can request the court to revoke the limited divorce and begin living together again. However, when issuing a limited divorce, the court determines if any party is at fault.

2.Grounds For Divorce

One must attain specific grounds to get an absolute or a limited divorce. Grounds refer to significant and legal reasons for seeking a divorce. Depending on your state or location, grounds for divorce may greatly vary. As such, it is essential that you check your local state laws and consult professionals before filing.

Usually, these grounds are broken into two categories: Fault and No-fault. Fault grounds, such as adultery, require a spouse to prove their spouse’s infidelity during their marriage. On the other hand, no-fault grounds don’t need proof of misconduct.

Fault grounds for an absolute divorce include adultery, insanity, desertion, conviction, and excessively vicious conduct. Alternatively, no-fault grounds for this type of divorce include mutual consent and a 12-month separation without cohabitation.

On the other hand, fault grounds for limited divorce include desertion, cruel treatment, and excessively vicious conduct, while no-fault grounds include separation without cohabitation.

If a spouse seeks an absolute divorce but doesn’t meet legal requirements, they can get a limited divorce if one of the grounds is met. Also, sometimes, if a ground is proven, the court can consider it when determining child custody and alimony.


When it comes to absolute and limited divorce, couples have different experiences. For instance, once you’re granted an absolute divorce, the situation is permanent, and you’re legally separated for good.

However, a limited divorce can allow the couple to sample a divorce and determine if that’s what they want for their marriage. Here, couples can decide to come back together and patch things up since they’re still legally married.


One of the significant differences between absolute and limited divorce manifests when it comes to remarrying. Once couples are issued with an absolute divorce, they’re at liberty to choose whether to remarry or stay single. If they wish, they can start other relationships and get married.

Conversely, a limited divorce doesn’t give the couple the right to remarry since they remain legally married. Even if the situation calls for remarriage, the couple can’t because they’re still tied to one another until they file and acquire an absolute divorce.


Both absolute and limited divorces are legal. In a nutshell, once a couple files and attains an absolute divorce, they’re permanently divorced and relieved of their assumed duty after getting married. On the other hand, couples provided with limited divorce are only separated and can get back together if they wish to.

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