Can I Have My Husband Removed from the Marital Home?

Written by Jonathan Breeden

April 17, 2024

Going through a separation can be a difficult time. If you’re facing emotional or physical abuse, a divorce from bed and board can offer legal separation and establish grounds for an absolute divorce later.

What Is Divorce from Bed & Board in North Carolina?

Two primary types of divorce may be available in North Carolina. These include absolute divorce and divorce from bed and board.

Absolute divorce is based on the destruction of your marriage. A divorce from bed and board suspends the rights and responsibilities of the marriage. It does not destroy your marriage.

If you seek a divorce from bed and board, you will not be eligible to remarry or be considered single.

What are the Benefits of Divorcing from Bed & Board?

Choosing to divorce your husband from bed and board can offer you valuable benefits. It can be the first step to separation.

By divorcing from bed and board, you and your husband can address financial concerns. You can make temporary agreements about child support, spousal support, and property division. Some things can stay the same, like health insurance plans.

Above all, divorcing from bed and board provides you breathing room. You have time to collect essential documents, weigh your legal options, and provide a safe space away from an emotional or physically abusive spouse.

What Are the Grounds for Divorce from Bed & Board?

Before you can get a divorce from bed and board, you must meet the necessary criteria. In divorce from bed and board, one spouse who has been mistreated by the other must file the divorce from bed and board action in North Carolina family court.

This is a fault-based order alleging that one spouse has injured the other under specific grounds. According to North Carolina General Statute § 50.7, these grounds include:

  • Excessive use of alcohol or drug dependency
  • Emotional or physical abuse
  • Indignities that make a living with your spouse intolerable
  • Abandonment of the family
  • Kicking your spouse out maliciously
  • Cheating on your spouse

Suppose you are seeking an absolute divorce on fault-based grounds. In that case, the misconduct must have occurred within the last six months. However, there are no such requirements when seeking a divorce from bed and board.

What Happens After You File for Divorce from Bed & Board?

You must wait one year before filing a petition for an absolute divorce after you have been separated from your spouse by a divorce from bed and board order.

During this period of separation, you can work with your spouse to come to an agreement regarding the division of your marital property and assets, child support and custody, and other marital matters.

You Could Make a Claim for Domestic Violence

In many divorce from bed and board cases, one spouse has been emotionally or physically abused by another. If this happens to you, once you have obtained your divorce from bed and board order, your next steps could include claiming domestic violence.

You may want to petition the court for a temporary restraining order. This restraining order can detail child support and custody stipulations, spousal support, and how property will be divided.

It is up to the court to determine whether the protective order should become permanent. The judge can consider the protective order as evidence if it’s introduced in a request for a divorce from bed and board.

You Could Make a Claim for Equitable Property Distribution

You also could seek equitable distribution. North Carolina law states that your marital property should be divided fairly in a divorce.

That does not mean that your assets and debts will be divided equally but equitably. Within your request for equitable distribution, you can also include your request for an absolute divorce, alimony, child support, and child custody rights.

However, keep in mind that marital misconduct is not considered when dividing your marital property and assets unless there was financial misconduct after you become legally separated.

How is Property Division Decided?

The judge will consider many factors when determining how your marital property and assets should be divided. Some of these factors could include:

  • Both spouse’s income
  • Both spouse’s debts
  • Both spouse’s expenses
  • The types of property and assets involved
  • Both spouse’s physical and mental health
  • How long you were married
  • Potential tax implications
  • Each spouse’s contributions to the other spouse’s earning power

A Step-By-Step Checklist for Your Divorce from Bed & Board in NC

When considering a divorce from bed and board, use this checklist to help guide you.

Understand Your Options

Research divorce types and consult with a lawyer to understand if a divorce from bed and board suits your situation.

Check Your Eligibility

Ensure you meet one of the necessary grounds such as abuse, abandonment, or adultery, and gather supporting evidence.

File the Complaint

Draft and file the legal complaint in your county’s family court, detailing your grounds for the divorce.

Serve Your Spouse

Officially serve your spouse with the divorce papers and file proof of service.

Request Temporary Orders

Apply for any temporary orders needed for support, custody, or property use while the divorce process is ongoing.

Negotiate Settlements

Engage in mediation or negotiation to resolve issues like property division and support, with legal assistance.

Attend the Final Hearing

Prepare for and attend the court hearing where the judge will finalize the divorce terms.

Comply and Update

Follow all court orders and update personal legal documents as necessary post-divorce.

Consider Absolute Divorce

Plan for an absolute divorce if you wish to remarry or fully dissolve the marriage after the mandatory separation period.

Why Should I Work with a Family Law Attorney?

Navigating a divorce from bed and board is complex. Any errors could set you back. A skilled attorney will understand your available options and help you build your case.

They’ll understand your hardships and your goals, and help you reach them. Your attorney can represent you in court, easing the legal burden in this challenging time.

You stand a much better chance of a successful divorce by working with an experienced attorney.

Contact a Divorce Lawyer in North Carolina for Help Today

If you are interested in pursuing a divorce from bed and board, but you do not know where to get started, our team of North Carolina divorce lawyers at Breeden Law Office are here to help.

Learn more about how the divorce from bed and board process works and how to protect yourself when you contact us for a confidential case evaluation. Complete our quick contact form or call us at (919) 661-4970 to get started.



Divorce In North Carolina: What You Need To Know

A book by Jonathan Breeden