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There are two types of divorce– absolute and limited.

An absolute divorce, (also called a “divorce a vinculo matrimonii”) is a judicial termination of a marriage based on marital misconduct or other statutory cause arising after the marriage ceremony. As a result of an absolute divorce both parties’ status becomes single again.

removing wedding band

The statutes in several jurisdictions authorize limited divorces, (also called “divorce a mensa et thoro”). The consequences of limited divorces will vary from state to state. Typically, a limited divorce is commonly referred to as a Separation Decree; the right to cohabitation is terminated but the couple is still considered married.

What is a No-Fault Divorce?

Many states have enacted what are called No-Fault Divorce Statutes. This is a response to the outdated Common Law Divorce which required proof in a court of law by the divorcing party that the other party committed an act that caused sufficient grounds for the divorce. Essentially they had to prove that the spouse had committed adultery, or engaged in some other unsavory activity. The No-fault divorce eliminates this embarrassing and undesirable requirement. It provides for the dissolution of a marriage on a finding that the relationship is no longer viable.


In some situations annulment, if available may be a favorable option to divorce.
An annulment is similar but not the same as a divorce. It is an option when specific circumstances deem a marriage legally invalid or void. Whereas divorce is the termination of a valid marriage. Annulment declares that the marriage was never valid from its inception. The availability of annulment varies depending on where you live and the specific grounds recognized by the law in your jurisdiction.
When is Annulment an Option?

outer space (void)

What are Void Marriages:

Due to fundamental legal reasons, a void marriage is considered invalid from the beginning. Examples of void marriages:

  • Marriage between close relatives (such as siblings or parents and children)
  • Bigamous marriages (where one spouse is already married)
  • Marriages involving a person who lacked the mental capacity to consent.

What are Voidable Marriages:

Voidable marriages are considered valid initially, but they can be legally annulled provided specific grounds are met. Common grounds for voidable marriages include:

  1. Fraud or misrepresentation: When one spouse deceives the other into marriage by lying about, or concealing important facts such as:
    * Hiding a criminal history
    * Hiding impotence
    *Lying about fertility
  2. Duress or force: When one spouse is coerced or forced into the marriage against their will.
  3. Underage marriage: When one or both parties were underage and did not have the legal capacity to marry.
  4. Incapacity: When one spouse was unable to give genuine consent due to mental incapacity, intoxication, or being under the influence of drugs.

Specific grounds and requirements for annulment can vary depending on where you live, so it’s advisable to consult with a family law attorney who is familiar with the laws in your specific area to understand the options available to you.
You can get quick and easy access to Top Divorce Lawyers in your area offering sound legal help and assistance. simply by completing o free consultation request form.

discarded wedding band

Legally Dissolving a Marriage

The law surrounding divorce encompasses various aspects related to the legal dissolution of a marriage. Here are the aspects commonly associated with divorce law:

Grounds for Divorce:

Divorce laws specify the grounds or reasons a divorce can be granted. Depending on the jurisdiction, the grounds for divorce can vary. Examples are: irreconcilable differences, adultery, cruelty, abandonment, or separation.

Dividing Assets and Debts Fairly:

There are guidelines for the division of marital property and debts acquired during the marriage. Divorce laws help determine how assets such as homes, vehicles, investments, bank accounts, and personal belongings will be divided between the spouses fairly. Debts incurred during the marriage, such as mortgages, loans, or credit card debts, also need to be allocated fairly.

Child Custody and Visitation:

When a divorcing couple has children, it’s important to address the matters of child custody and visitation. This involves determining which parent will have physical custody of the children (where they primarily reside called the “custodial parent”) and establishing visitation rights for the non-custodial parent. The court will consider the best interests of the child when making custody and visitation determinations.

parent holding child's hand

Child Support:

Parents are obligated to provide financial support for their children after divorce. Child support calculations consider factors such as the income of both parents, the needs of the child, and the rules and arrangements of custody. Guidelines and formulas are often provided to help parents determine the appropriate amount of child support.

Alimony or Spousal Support:

The law often provides for the payment of alimony or spousal support by one spouse to the other. The length of the marriage generally contributes greatly to this, as well as the financial situation of each spouse, their earning potential, and the standard of living during the marriage. Alimony may be temporary or long-term, depending on the circumstances and court mandates.

Mediation and Alternative Marital Dispute Resolution:

Divorce laws may encourage or require couples to pursue mediation or other alternative dispute resolution methods to resolve their issues outside of court. Mediation involves the help of a neutral third party. A mediator helps facilitate negotiations and reach agreements on a wide variety of divorce-related matters.

Divorce Proceedings & The Legal Process:

Divorce laws outline the legal process for getting a divorce. This includes filing divorce petitions, serving legal documents, responding to petitions, and attending court hearings. Timelines, procedures, and requirements must be followed to finalize a divorce.

Modification and Enforcement:

Divorce laws also address post-divorce issues such as modifying or enforcing existing divorce agreements. If circumstances change significantly after the divorce, such as a change in income or relocation, the laws may provide a process to modify child custody, child support, or alimony arrangements. Similarly, divorce laws establish mechanisms to enforce court orders if one party fails to comply with the terms of the divorce agreement.


Laws Can Vary by Jurisdiction

Keep in mind that divorce laws can vary by jurisdiction, therefore specific aspects and procedures may be different in your state. Consulting with a divorce lawyer who is knowledgeable about the laws in your jurisdiction is essential for personalized advice and guidance during your individual divorce process.

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