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How to Obtain a Divorce From Bed and Board in North Carolina

If you wish to obtain a divorce from bed and board in North Carolina, the overall process may seem overwhelming at first. Because of the nature of this type of separation, the legal requirements and the steps you need to take can seem complex. However, it is important that you move forward with your separation in a swift and efficient manner, especially if you are suffering abuse at the hands of your spouse.

Finalizing your divorce from bed and board and moving on with your life is much easier when you enlist the help of a qualified attorney. An experienced divorce lawyer can help you navigate the process and handle a variety of tasks that would otherwise cause you considerable stress. These legal professionals can also help you prove to North Carolina courts that you are eligible for a divorce from bed and board.

What Is a Divorce From Bed and Board?

Despite its name, a divorce from bed and board does not actually dissolve the marriage. This means that after a divorce from bed and board has been granted, you will not be able to marry another person. You will still be technically married under the eyes of North Carolina law.

This type of divorce is also fault-based. This means that in order for the courts to grant a divorce from bed and board, you will need to prove that you have a legitimate reason for separating. This is one of the main differences between a “fault-based” divorce from bed and board, and a “no-fault” absolute divorce. With an absolute divorce, you do not need to provide any real reason for your separation - you simply need to live apart from your former spouse for one year before the divorce is finalized.

Why Might I Want a Divorce From Bed and Board?

Spouses pursue a divorce from bed and board for a number of reasons. The most obvious is to simply escape from a stressful living environment, as this type of separation prevents a couple from cohabiting in the future. One spouse may be ejected from the marital residence if the other spouse has suffered injuries at their hands.

On the other hand, a spouse may decide to obtain a divorce from bed and board so that they can leave the marital home without worrying about being accused of abandonment in the future. After a divorce from bed and board is granted, spouses are no longer legally obligated to live together.

A divorce from bed and board also affects matters relating to estates, inheritance, and the distribution of assets:

  • Spouses may no longer have a right to intestate succession
  • Spouses may no longer have a right to succeed a homestead
  • Spouses may no longer have a right to administer estates
  • Spouses may have the right to sell marital property without the other spouse’s consent

With all that said, a divorce from bed and board does not affect a spouse’s property rights for separately owned property. This type of separation also has no effect on child custody rights. In addition, you may still seek alimony or child support after a divorce from bed and board has been granted.

The Steps for Obtaining a Divorce From Bed and Board

A divorce from bed and board is filed and enacted entirely by the injured spouse. In this case, the “injured spouse” is someone who has suffered certain offenses at the hands of the other spouse. Note that despite the phrase “injured,” these potential offenses are not limited to physical injuries.

Because a divorce from bed and board is fault-based, you will need to provide to the applicable North Carolina courts that your spouse is guilty of various possible offenses. This is why it is important to enlist the help of a qualified attorney who can help you prove that your spouse has caused you injuries. It is important to understand that there are only six possible situations in which a divorce from bed and board may be granted in North Carolina:

  • Abandonment
  • Maliciously Turning Out of Doors
  • Cruel or Barbarous Treatment
  • Personal Indignities
  • Excessive Alcohol or Drug Use
  • Adultery

In some cases, your spouse may have committed many of these offenses. When you speak with a qualified attorney, you can figure out the best way to prove to the courts that you have suffered injuries.

Getting Legal Help

If you want to explore the next steps for your divorce from bed and board, reach out to Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at one of our three offices by calling 704-370-2828.