What is the Difference Between Absolute Divorce and Divorce From Bed and Board in North Carolina?

If you are planning to get divorced in Charlotte, it is important to understand that there are two different options available to you. The first is known as an “absolute divorce,” while the second option is a “divorce from bed and board.” If you have never encountered these terms before, you might be wondering which route you should take. There are a number of notable differences between these two different types of divorce, and the best option for you depends on your unique situation.

Although reading more about how divorce works in Mecklenburg County can be helpful, it is always best to learn alongside a local expert who can guide you in the right direction. If you are not sure whether to pursue an absolute divorce or a divorce from bed and board, consult with a qualified divorce attorney who has the necessary experience and qualifications to help you make the right decision.

Understanding the Difference Between “No-Fault” and “Fault-Based” Divorces

One of the main differences between these two types of divorces has to do with the concept of “fault.” An absolute divorce falls under the category of “no-fault,” which means you do not need a specific reason to end the marriage. Under the guidelines of an absolute divorce in North Carolina, you can simply claim that your marriage has fallen apart and that you no longer want to be in the relationship.

In contrast, a divorce from bed and board requires you to provide the court with very specific reasons for ending your marriage. This type of divorce is considered “fault-based” because you are alleging that your spouse has committed some kind of act that provides grounds for divorce. In most cases, divorces from bed and board are granted after one spouse has committed egregious acts against the other.

How to Get an Absolute Divorce

If you want to obtain an absolute divorce in North Carolina, there are a few important steps you need to take. First of all, it is important to note that in order for an absolute divorce to be granted and finalized in North Carolina, both spouses must live apart for one year. The purpose of this law is to give couples a chance to reconcile and think about whether they really want to go through with the separation.

The other steps involved in obtaining an absolute divorce include filing a complaint with the court and having a summons issued. When your spouse is served with the summons and informed that the divorce procedure will begin, you can move forward with your one-year separation period. It is worth noting that you do not need to wait an entire year before dealing with issues like child support, child custody, and spousal support.

A Divorce from Bed and Board Does Not Disband the Marriage

One of the most important things you need to know about a divorce from bed and board is that it does not disband the marriage. This means that even though this type of divorce might be granted by the county court, you will still be legally married. As a result, you will not be able to legally remarry. Only by obtaining an absolute divorce in North Carolina can you dissolve the marriage and remarry other people.

Why Should You Get a Divorce From Bed and Board

So if a divorce from bed and board does not dissolve the marriage, then why should you choose this option? Well, this route may be helpful under certain circumstances, as it is a court-ordered decree of separation that can arguably force both spouses to live apart. This is particularly useful when one spouse refuses to consent to the separation.

With a divorce from bed and board, you can arguably eject the spouse accused of marital offenses from your home immediately. The accused spouse cannot consent to this type of divorce. Another possible reason for pursuing a divorce from bed and board has to do with abandonment. If you want to leave the marital home and you do not obtain a divorce from bed and board, you may be accused of abandonment in the future. This can affect your divorce later on, and the court may look upon your actions unfavorably. However, with a divorce from bed and board, you are immune from accusations of abandonment. In addition, a divorce from bed and board may be useful when it comes to establishing estate rights.

Getting Legal Help

If you are trying to decide between an absolute divorce and a divorce from bed and board, it is best to consult with experienced local attorneys. With guidance from Arnold & Smith, PLLC you can make an informed, educated decision. Contact us today at 704-370-2828 or submit a contact form online and we will reach out to you.