Duhaime's Law Dictionary

A Vinculo Matrimonii Definition:

Latin: of marriage.

Related Terms: Divorce, Decree Absolute

As Justice Maughmer of the Kansas City Court of Appeals wrote in Prough v Prough:

"In our early law divorce actions were in two separate divisions. One was divorce a vinculo matrimonii, i. e. absolute divorce. The second divorce was a mensa et thoro, i. e. divorce from bed and board. These are now substantially indivisible portions of the one action for divorce, and it has been uniformly held in this state that a wife cannot recover in a separate maintenance suit unless she makes such proof as would entitle her to a divorce if she were seeking that relief."

This used to be distinguished from a divorce a mensa et thoro.

In a 1923 Dictionary of English Law by W. J. Byrne (London: Sweet & Maxwell) page 315, this distinction is offered:

"(A divorce) was of two kinds - a divorce a mensa et thoro (from bed and board), granted in cases where the husband or wife had been guilty of such conduct as to make conjugal intercourse impossible (as in the case of adultery, cruelty etc.); and a divorce a vinculo matrimonii (from the bond of marriage), granted where the marriage was voidable or void ab initio (as in the case of the parties being within the prohibited degrees (of relation), or one of them having been previously married, or being impotent when married).

The term -  when used - now refers to a final and permanent divorce.


Categories & Topics:

Always looking up definitions? Save time with our search provider (modern browsers only)

If you find an error or omission in Duhaime's Law Dictionary, or if you have suggestion for a legal term, we'd love to hear from you!