Divorce from Bed and Board in North Carolina
What is a Divorce from Bed and Board?
North Carolina allows for two types of divorce: (1) Absolute Divorce and (2) Divorce from Bed and Board; however, Divorce from Bed and Board is not actually a divorce. It is merely a separation. The only type of divorce in North Carolina is an absolute divorce. This entry will focus on explaining Divorce from Bed and Board, as we have detailed absolute divorce in a separate entry.
Why Do People Seek this Option?
Divorce from Bed and Board is a fault-based divorce. Unlike an absolute divorce, a divorce from bed and board is not a final divorce which dissolves all ties of marriage. Instead, a divorce from bed and board is a form of legal separation, which provides notice to the courts.
The biggest reason why people seek a divorce from bed and board is to establish fault in the marriage, prior to the divorce being finalized. Why would someone try to establish fault in the divorce prior to it being finalized? The answer is that it provides them with the grounds to request a favorable alimony award or a larger equitable distribution of assets. Please note that, in North Carolina, one does NOT need to establish fault in order to obtain a divorce.
How Does an Individual Establish Eligibility for a Divorce from Bed and Board?
The complaining spouse in a divorce from bed and board must be able to establish at least one of the six available statutory grounds to show that they have been injured by the accused spouse’s actions in their marriage.
The court may grant divorce from bed and board if the complainant can establish that the complained-of spouse:
- Abandoned their family;
- Maliciously turned the other out of the house;
- Engaged in cruel or barbarous treatment which endangered the life of the other;
- Offered such indignities to the other spouse as to render their life intolerable and life burdensome;
- Became an excessive user of alcohol or drugs so as to render the condition of the other spouse intolerable and the life of that spouse burdensome;
- Committed adultery.
How Can I get a Divorce from Bed and Board?
One party to the marriage must file an action for a divorce from bed and board. A divorce from bed and board cannot be consented to by both parties because it is fault-based. It would be wise to consult with an experienced family law attorney to determine eligibility for this type of divorce.
Defenses to a Divorce from Bed and Board
A person who has been accused of engaging in one of the statutory grounds for a divorce from bed and board may be able to defend against such a claim if they can prove one of the following actions being taken by the complaining spouse:
Divorce can be stressful and time-consuming. It is important to have a clear understanding of the processes involved. The attorneys at Gilles Law, PLLC are here to assist with your inquiries.
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