Grounds for Limited Divorce

A limited divorce can be obtained for the reasons noted below:

  1. Voluntary Separation: Generally, a limited divorce will be granted when the reasons behind the separation are dire. Unlike an absolute divorce, there is no required waiting period before a couple can file for a limited divorce. Just like an absolute divorce, both spouses agree to physically separate with the intent to terminate the marriage, all sexual relations cease, and there is no hope of reconciliation.
  2. Cruelty/ Excessively Vicious Conduct Toward the Complaining Party or to a Child of That Party: A limited divorce on the ground of cruelty or excessively vicious conduct is generally found when the victim’s life or health is endangered, there is a reasonable fear of bodily harm, and the conduct is detrimental to the victim-spouse’s health or happiness.
  3. Desertion: Desertion is granted when there is an unfounded and deliberate termination of cohabitation by one spouse and an intent to end the marriage. If the abandonment is consensual, however, a limited divorce on the grounds of desertion is unlikely.

Unlike in an absolute divorce, there is no required waiting period, but in certain cases, the length of the desertion can be used as evidence of the genuineness of the abandonment.

A limited divorce can also be found for constructive desertion, which is when the marriage becomes so intolerable that one spouse leaves the house. The conduct need not be cruel by definition, but it must be so unbearable that it will negatively affect the spouse’s health, safety, or self-respect.

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