If you’re thinking about divorce, you’ve probably started researching family law attorneys in Charlotte, NC and have started learning information about different types of divorce. All of the information is daunting, especially looking at the difference between an absolute divorce and a from bed and board divorce. Which kind do you need?
To help you out with this decision, we’ve created this handy guide that will teach you a little more about from bed and board divorce.
Absolute Divorce Vs. From Bed and Board
In the state of North Carolina there are two kinds of divorce:
1. Absolute- This kind dissolves the marital contract between spouses and makes it so that the parties are no longer married. To qualify for an absolute divorce, parties must live separately and apart for at least one year with the intent not to live as man and wife. There is no fault required to get an absolute divorce.
2. From Bed and Board- This is a fault-based legal action. It does not dissolve the marriage: instead, it is a court-ordered decree of legal separation. In this separation, the matrimonial bonds do still exist, so neither spouse has the right to remarry.
Why Choose from Bed and Board?
Getting this kind of divorce is a difficult solution to a difficult situation. It is usually only necessary when one spouse will not enter a separation agreement. While It is not required to fulfill the separation requirement of an absolute divorce, a divorce from bed and board helps to settle the rights of separating spouses.
For example, a spouse might seek a divorce from bed and board to eject the spouse accused of the marital fault from the marital residence or to support a claim for the following under North Carolina law:
- post-separation support
- child custody
- child support
- to settle the spouses’ estate rights.
How Does It Work?
Spouses cannot simply consent to get a divorce from bed and board. The injured spouse must file an action for a divorce from bed and board in court. Because it is fault-based, that means to be eligible for a divorce from bed and board, the complaining spouse must show by the greater weight of the evidence that he or she has been injured by the accused spouse’s actions that fall within one of the six statutory fault grounds. North Carolina General Statute § 50.7 includes the six following grounds for a divorce from bed and board:
- Abandonment of the family- To prove this, the complaining spouse must establish under North Carolina law that (1) the accused spouse intentionally ended cohabitation with the complaining spouse (2) with the intent not to resume cohabitation, (3) without the complaining spouse’s consent; and (4) without provocation.
- Maliciously turning the complaining spouse out of doors- this requires proving that the spouse in question turned the complaining spouse out and evicted them without provocation.
- Treating the complaining spouse in such a cruel or barbarous way that it endangers his or her life- To establish cruelty, the spouse must plead the act or acts of cruelty and show that the cruelty was unprovoked. Typically, emotional cruelty will also satisfy the ground of indignities, below.
- Indignities that render the complaining spouse’s condition intolerable or life overly burdensome- To establish this ground, one must establish three things: (1) Inappropriate conduct that is (2) committed willfully, maliciously, or consciously with the intent to annoy and (3) without provocation.
- Excessive drug or alcohol use that makes the complaining spouse’s condition intolerable or life overly burdensome- the accused spouse must frequently be intoxicated and also lack self-control over the use of the particular drug or alcohol. That being said, there is no clear-cut standard for what is excessive use under North Carolina law.
- Adultery- this or marital infidelity is the final ground in which courts will consider in granting a divorce from bed and board. It should also be noted that this behavior can also be covered under grounds of cruelty and indignities.
The grounds can have occurred at any time for a divorce from bed and board. You can find the full explanation in North Carolina General Statute § 50-8.
Want to Move Forward?
If the issues of from bed and board divorce seem to apply to you and you could argue the above points, you may need to talk to a family law attorney in Charlotte, NC. It’s a hard decision and we’d love to help consult with you. Understanding your legal recourse is a right. Use this form to contact me today to find out how the Metz Law Firm has your back. As always, do not include any confidential or sensitive information online and submitting this form does not create an attorney-client relationship.