Divorce From Bed and Board in North Carolina

 
See more divorce related topics

North Carolina offers married couples two options for divorce: Absolute divorce and divorce from bed and board. Both have benefits and disadvantages, so a divorce lawyer is a valuable asset when deciding the right path for you.

An experienced divorce lawyer at the Breeden Law Office helps you navigate the complexities of a bed and board divorce in North Carolina. Our in-depth knowledge of state laws and the civil court gives you peace of mind throughout this emotional process.

Call the Breeden Law Office today at (919) 661-4970 or use our online contact form for a consultation.

What Is Divorce From Bed and Board?

Divorce from bed and board is not the same as an absolute divorce. A bed and board divorce is a court-ordered separation that allows spouses certain rights and access regarding their estate, child custody, and other issues.

Couples who choose a divorce from bed and board remain legally married.

An absolute divorce requires a complete separation agreement. The court may approve a bed and board divorce when one spouse refuses a separation agreement.

However, you can still seek a court decree addressing the following:

Benefits of Bed and Board Divorce

Divorce from bed and board could be ideal for individuals with economic or religious objections to an absolute divorce.

A bed and board divorce allow couples to:

  • Maintain eligibility for health insurance, social security, and retirement benefits
  • Establish a marital settlement agreement on their own time and terms
  • Prepare themselves and minor children for an absolute divorce
  • Remain married indefinitely until either spouse (or both) files for a Final Judgement of Divorce

Disadvantages of Bed and Board Divorce

A bed and board divorce is not an informal separation. It is a legal separation and applies only to specific situations, such as abandonment or abuse (see grounds for a bed and board divorce below).

There are other disadvantages to a bed and board divorce:

  • Neither spouse can remarry until the bed and board divorce is converted into a final judgment
  • Marital settlement agreements concerning child support, child custody, spousal support, and division of assets might be more contentious since the divorce is not absolute
  • The spouse seeking the bed and board divorce must show fault by the other party

Grounds for Divorce From Bed and Board

Divorce from bed and board is a fault-based legal action, as opposed to no-fault divorce. That means there are grounds for divorce.

According to North Carolina Statutes, Chapter 50, Section 7, the court may grant a divorce from bed and board if any of the following apply:

  • One party abandons their family
  • One party maliciously turns the other out of doors
  • There is cruel or inhuman treatment that endangers the life of one party
  • One party’s indignities are intolerable or burdensome to the other spouse
  • There is excessive alcohol or drug use that render’s life intolerable or overpowering for the other party
  • Either party commits adultery

It’s necessary to have proof of these situations when requesting a divorce from bed and board, especially if your spouse is refusing a separation agreement or to leave the marital home. That’s why it’s crucial to work with a divorce lawyer who knows how to gather and present evidence to the court in such a way that will benefit your case.

Abandonment

To show that one party has abandoned their family, you must prove four things:

  1. The accused spouse intentionally and permanently ceased living with the other party. They may have moved to another home or even a separate part of the family home.
  2. The accused spouse does not intend to return to the family home.
  3. The spouse making the allegation did not agree to the separation.
  4. The spouse making the allegation did not provoke the departure through words or actions.

Military deployment is considered a temporary separation and might not qualify as grounds for a bed and board divorce.

Malicious Turning Out of Doors

If one spouse wrongfully evicted the other from their home, it might qualify as maliciously turning them out of doors. Malicious turning out includes changing the locks or alarm codes. The evicted spouse may or may not have someplace to go.

It’s important to get evidence of this situation. A divorce lawyer can help you compile this evidence, often via text messages, voice mails, or emails.

Cruel and Barbarous Treatment

Cruel treatment may include both physical and mental abuse. However, the spouse who complains of the inhuman treatment cannot have provoked the behavior in the other partner.

Indignities Rendering Life Intolerable or Burdensome

Intolerable or burdensome indignities must be deliberately hostile and intended to inflict humiliation or degradation to the other party. They cannot be a one-time event. Examples that satisfy this ground include nagging, indifference, criticism, drug and alcohol abuse, insults, harassment, neglect, adultery, and even pornography addiction.

The spouse seeking a bed and board divorce must show evidence of intolerable or burdensome behavior. Additionally, the complaining spouse must not have provoked the misconduct.

Drug and Alcohol Abuse

If your spouse’s drug and alcohol use are so excessive that it negatively impacts your life, then it may be grounds for divorce from bed and board. You must show that the intoxication happened more often than occasionally. Additionally, the accused spouse must regularly lack self-control.

Adultery

Adultery satisfies several grounds for divorce from bed and board, including cruelty and indignities. Infidelity by itself is adequate grounds for a spouse seeking a bed and board divorce.

Common Defenses to Divorce From Bed and Board

The spouse seeking to avoid divorce from bed and board might assert such defenses as:

Collusion

Though not a common reason, collusion (or collaboration) occurs when both spouses plot together to establish evidence of marital faults.

Connivance

Your spouse might claim that you set them up to fail or entrapped them in their conduct.

Condonation

Your spouse might claim that you knew about their actions and forgave them.

Recrimination

In many cases, your spouse may turn the finger at you and assert that you are equally guilty of marital misconduct.

Protect Your Rights with a Divorce Lawyer

When seeking a divorce from bed and board, you will need to show fault-based divorce is appropriate. A bed and board divorce lawyer in North Carolina helps you secure evidence, documentation, and testimony to support your claim.

Our divorce lawyers help you make an informed choice about which type of divorce is best for you and your family.

Call the Breeden Law Office today at (919) 661-4970 or use our online contact form to schedule a consultation.

Call Breeden Law Office today:

(919) 296-3978
 
 

Divorce In North Carolina: What You Need To Know

A book by Jonathan Breeden

Download