26 Nov 2013

What is a Limited Divorce?

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divorce decreeCouples who separate, even for a short time, must deal with many different issues including who pays the bills, who gets the house, who gets the kids, and much more.  Unlike most states, Virginia does not grant legal separations for this type of circumstance.  Instead, if you are separated though not yet seeking a full divorce, Virginia courts may grant you a “limited divorce.”  A limited divorce will set guidelines for you to live apart without legally ending your marriage.  If you and your spouse are considering separation, you should first contact an experienced family law lawyer in Virginia to see if a limited divorce is right for your situation.

Why would I want a limited divorce?

People seek limited divorces for several reasons.  Some of these reasons include:

  • Possible reconciliation:  If a couple wishes to continue working on the marriage while living apart, a limited divorce can help sort out finances, custody, etc. during the separation.  Additionally, sometimes one spouse just needs to work on issues separately, but intends to return to the marriage at a future date.
  • Benefits:  Many people choose to remain legally married, despite separation, in order to remain on a spouse’s health insurance plan through his or her employer.
  • Religious reasons:  Some couples have religious beliefs that forbid them from getting divorced, therefore a limited divorce will allow them to live separately while remaining technically married.

Limited divorces are similar to a permanent, or absolute, divorce, with some key differences.  For example, since you are still legally married under a limited divorce, neither you nor your spouse may legally remarry anyone else.  Furthermore, neither you nor your spouse may have sexual relations with another person without technically committing adultery.   Such adultery may then be adequate grounds for an absolute divorce if your spouse wishes to seek one.

Limited divorces are a good solution for certain couples.  Do not hesitate to contact the offices of family law attorney Raymond B. Benzinger if you have any questions regarding your options.

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