Virginia Divorce Law: Difference Between Absolute Divorce and Divorce from Bed and Board

There are two major categories of divorces in Virginia; a divorce a mensa et thoro (bed and board) and a divorce a vinculo matrimonii (absolute divorce). There are many factors that go into determining which of these two categories of divorce are right for your particular case. However, before going into those factors, it is important to understand the basic difference between these two types of divorce.

So what is the difference between an Absolute Divorce and a Divorce from Bed and Board?

Divorce From Bed and Board

The first type of divorce to talk about is a divorce from bed and board. This type of divorce only covers a limited number of issues, and is not a full divorce. There are some benefits to a divorce from bed and board that are not available in an absolute divorce.

One example of a benefit is that there is not as serious of a waiting time associated with a divorce from bed and board. In order to qualify for an absolute divorce, you must either satisfy certain waiting requirements (which could be up to a year) or have already qualified for a fault based grounds of divorce (which is discussed in another article.) Another benefit of a divorce from bed and board is that you can ask for temporary relief from a court in the form of spousal support or legal fees.

The downside of a divorce from bed and board is that it is a temporary measure designed to help you until you have satisfied the waiting requirements of an absolute divorce. The other downside is that there are only a limited number of scenarios that allow you to qualify for a divorce from bed and board. Additionally, you are not allowed to marry another person until after you have converted into an absolute divorce.

Absolute Divorce

The second type of divorce is an absolute divorce. An absolute divorce is intended to address all financial issues between the parties. This type of divorce allows you to marry a new person. Another major difference between an absolute divorce and a divorce from bed and board is that it will be the end of the divorce process.

Why You Need a Divorce Lawyer

It is important to hire a divorce lawyer to better understand which of these two categories of divorce is most appropriate in your case. If you need immediate relief and are unable to wait the entire time required for an absolute divorce, a lawyer may be essential in helping you pursue a divorce from bed and board. Talk to a lawyer before deciding to file for divorce.