A Vinculo Matrimonii – Legal Maxim

Literal Meaning

From the bond of matrimony


Divorce a vinculo matrimonii is also known as absolute or total divorce dissolving a marriage and releasing the parties completely from the matrimonial obligations. The parties can remarry thereof. This can be granted in cases where the marriage is voidable or void ab initio. Examples include cases of bigamy, marriage within prohibited degrees. On the contrary, a divorce a mensa et thoro is one where the parties cannot live together from incompatibility of temper. It is a partial divorce and if they choose, the parties can come together again.




A is the wife of B. B was married earlier and had a wife C. A can file a suit for divorce. Here the court will give a decree after being satisfied with the evidence produced for divorce a vinculo as this is a case of bigamy.

Case Reference

In Usha Ratilal Dave Vs. Arun B. Dave[1] the Gujarat High Court opined that “Divorces are of two distinct types, absolute or a vinculo matrimonii, and limited or a mensa et thoro. An absolute divorce or divorce a vinculo matrimonii sometimes termed simply a divorce, terminates the marriage relation. A limited divorce or divorce a mensa et thoro, sometimes called a legal or judicial separation, suspends the marriage relation and modifies its duties and obligations, leaving the bond in full force.”

[1] (1984)1GLR81