An absolute divorce completely and permanently ends the marriage. It’s probably what you think of when you hear the word “divorce.” Marital assets are divided and both parties are free to remarry. A judge needs to order a decree of absolute divorce before the marriage is actually over. In order to do this, all matters need to be decided. Sometimes this is easy – both parties can agree on all issues of custody, alimony, and the distribution of property and assets. This is called an uncontested divorce. Sometimes, the parties cannot agree, and the matter is contested in front of a judge.
In order for an absolute divorce to move forward, the parties will need something called grounds for divorce. The grounds for divorce are:
These will be discussed in more detail in a later blog post. Of note for today’s topic, however, is the twelve-month separation. If none of the other grounds apply, then the parties will have to live separate and apart for one full year.
This is a basic method that many individuals can follow. Before a year has elapsed and both parties are prepared to move on with an absolute divorce, nothing needs to be filed with the court. But for some, it's not as simple. A year is a lengthy period of time, and it is frequently challenging for one party to maintain oneself at that time. The parties may differ throughout that year on child custody, child support, or who gets to live in the marital residence. The court will need to intervene earlier than usual in circumstances like this. Limited divorce is a suitable remedy if the parties still require financial relief or are otherwise unable to settle their disputes privately but do not yet have sufficient grounds for an absolute divorce. A limited divorce can determine things like child support and custody, alimony (spousal support), and use and possession of assets like the marital house.
To ensure you are properly prepared for your divorce, contact us for your consult today!