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Photo of Joshua Nielsen
Photo of Joshua Nielsen

Absolute divorce vs. divorce from bed and board

On Behalf of | Feb 29, 2024 | Divorce

Separating from or divorcing a former spouse can be overwhelming and draining. There are requirements, paperwork to submit and big decisions to make. It is also essential to consider that not all states have the same divorce laws. 

For instance, when it comes to divorce and separation, North Carolina laws use the terms absolute divorce and divorce of bed and board.  

What is an absolute divorce? 

An absolute divorce ultimately terminates the marriage bond, and couples can file for this type of divorce on the grounds of being separated for a year (or longer) or the other spouse has incurable insanity, and both lived separately for at least three years.   

What is a divorce of bed and board? 

Couples who are not ready to dissolve their marriage can opt to file for a legal separation, or what North Carolina laws call a divorce from bed and board.  

In this set-up, they can live separately while maintaining their marital status. It is also a viable option for those who need child/spousal support or want to retain legal benefits of marriage like Social Security and health insurance benefits while separated.  

Which option is right for us? 

When it comes to ending a marriage, it can be difficult to know whether to divorce or separate. Some common factors people consider when making this decision include: 

  • Their cultural and religious views 
  • Whether they are eligible for divorce or separation based on circumstances like living arrangements 
  • Financial arrangements 
  • How a divorce might affect children 
  • Whether they want to leave the door open for reconciliation 

Based on these and numerous other factors unique to each case, parties can decide whether it is best for them to divorce or separate. 

These two legal processes can be complicated; emotions usually run high during these proceedings, potentially leading to mistakes. Getting an experienced legal professional can make an otherwise stressful situation go easier and smoother.