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Legal Questions about Limited Divorce

What is a limited divorce?

In a limited divorce, if both parties live in separate homes, the court does not view them either as single or as being legally divorced or separated. They are not able to legally remarry; there is no severance of marital ties, if they happen to have sexual relations with another person, their actions will be seen as being adulterous. Even though the spouses are still legally married, neither one has rights to sexual relations with the other. The court can overlook the limited divorce, and may allow spousal support such as alimony, or divide the property between the two. A limited divorce can also make short-term decisions on child custody, child support, the decision on diving personal and real property and health insurance coverage. If one of the spouses dies during the limited divorce, the living spouse may inherit the property or possessions of the deceased.

What needs to be filed in order to make a limited divorce an absolute divorce?

A limited divorce is similar to a legal separation, so in order to file for an absolute divorce, you can file a complaint for absolute divorce. If it applies to both parties they will need to state the following in a court petition: Both the spouses should agree on a given Month/Day/ Year, in voluntary agreement that they have lived; 1. separate and apart from each other in separate homes without a break, 2. without sexual intercourse, for more than twelve months with the intention of ending the marriage, 3. there is no intention to resolve the marriage.

In order for both parties to claim they are legally separated without divorce, what do they need to file with the court?

For both parties to legally separate it is not needed to file a legal separation agreement with the court until one decides to file for divorce. Just a written agreement in front of two witnesses and a legal representative is enough for legal separation.

How would someone fight a limited divorce in court and receive reconciliation counseling and spousal support?

In most cases, in order to do this the interested party would need to file a Motion to Require Reconciliation counseling to the court. Then they will need to either write or type up a document and explain what they want and why they want this kind of judgment. They will also need to provide the other party with this document and then go before the judge for a final decision.

If a spouse has filed for limited divorce and the order was delivered in the other spouses’ name, what do they do?

If the summons was not delivered correctly, then the divorce can be contested because of unacceptable process. You can either decide to respond to the summons or can file a motion to discharge because of the improper delivery and have the summons mailed properly to allow the other spouse to file again. In many situations limited divorces are considered a trial divorce where marital property, living arrangements, as well as custody of children can be set in place. Even as easy as limited divorce may seem, it often poses many unanswered questions about the legal implications.

Ask a Family Lawyer

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Ely, Counselor at Law
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Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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Recent Limited Divorce Questions

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    I live in York, Pennsylvania. I am heterosexual & have lived with my finance for 7 years. She has cancer & I applied for FMLA, however, was denied because we are not married. Is this legal?
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    I am an American and had sex with a Korean girl on a visa (not sure which visa, but it is probably not a student visa, as I do not believe she is a student). She has been here for a little over a year. She just told me she is pregnant (I'm guessing from about 2 months ago).
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    My son is 17 and currently living in a secure treatment center after an assult charge.They are thinking of sending him to a semi independent living situatoin.As his parent will I still be fiance ally responsible after he turns 18.We live in michigan.He is currently a PA 150 ward of the state.
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