In North Carolina, a “divorce from bed and board” is a form of legal separation between spouses. Despite its misleading name, it’s not a complete or absolute divorce. Instead, it’s a court-ordered separation that provides a legal framework for spouses living separately. Understanding its implications is important, as it can influence matters like property division, child custody and alimony.
Valid reasons for a separation
A divorce from bed and board doesn’t dissolve the marriage, meaning you remain legally married but live separately. Several reasons might lead you to file for a divorce from bed and board, and these reasons are recognized as valid under North Carolina law, including:
- Abandonment: One spouse leaves the shared marital home without asking for the other’s consent and with no intention of returning
- Malicious turning out of doors: One spouse forces the other out of their shared home
- Endangerment: One spouse endangers the other’s life through cruel or violent treatment
- Intolerable and burdensome conditions: One spouse’s behavior makes the other’s life intolerable and burdensome
- Excessive use of alcohol or drugs: One spouse’s excessive use of alcohol or drugs makes the other’s life intolerable and burdensome
- Adultery: One spouse commits adultery
So, if you’re the aggrieved spouse or if your spouse’s actions have made it difficult for you to live with them, you might consider this type of legal separation. However, before you can do this, you need to prove to the court that you have a good reason for wanting this type of separation.
Legalities may come into play
Remember, a divorce from bed and board doesn’t legally end a marriage; it merely provides for a legal separation. To obtain an absolute divorce, you must live separately for at least one year as a couple. In that case, you should consider seeking help from a legal professional to navigate the legalities of an absolute divorce.