What does Absolute divorce mean in American Law?
Technically, denotes nothing more than does the word divorce unmodified. The modifier “absolute” is most likely attached to distinguish the final decree of dissolution of the marriage from less thorough or less final attempts to cope with marital breakdowns, e.g., divorce a mensa et thoro; judicial separation. More particularly, in England and in at least some U.S. jurisdictions, it is the practice to enter decrees of “divorce” that nonetheless do not become final for some stated period (perhaps in the hope of a last-minute reconciliation). In English practice, that preliminary non-yet-final order is called a rule nisi which, after the requisite time has passed, becomes a rule absolute. One might theorize that it was an easy progression from “rule [of divorce] absolute” to “divorce absolute” to calling the final situation an “absolute divorce.”