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What Is The Difference Between Absolute Divorce And Divorce From Bed And Board

Divorce from Bed and Board – North Carolina Law

Usually, divorces in North Carolina happen after a separation period during which the spouses have lived separate and apart for one year and a day. For an absolute divorce, there is no requirement that either spouse show fault . The court can grant the divorce as long as the spouses can show that they are married and have met the separation requirement. In some cases, the court also can grant a divorce in North Carolina if one of the spouses is diagnosed with incurable insanity. Consult a North Carolina divorce lawyer to learn more about ways to divorce depending on your situation.

In contrast, a divorce from bed and board is not a true divorce. It does not end a legal marriage instead, it is a court-ordered separation. Spouses who receive a divorce from bed and board can live separate and apart while remaining legally married.

Cruel And Barbarous Treatment

Though the name suggests it, cruel treatment does not necessarily require the complaining spouse to allege physical violence. North Carolina courts have expanded the definition of cruel behavior to encompass emotional and mental cruelty. A spouse who complains of cruel treatment cannot have provoked the behavior.

Divorce From Bed And Board: Six Important Elements To Consider

A big part of taking steps to divorce from bed and board is that one party must file an action against the other party to instigate the legal action.

To then move this process forward in North Carolina, the injured spouse needs to provide evidence that the accused participated in one or more of the following six grounds for divorce from bed and board:

1. Abandonment of the family. In this instance, the spouse filing for DBB must establish several complaints:

    • Intentionally ended cohabitation: This is done by showing that the accused spouse no longer lives with the injured spouse, and instead resides elsewhere. This can also be proven by showing that the accused spouse lives in a different part of the home or is out of the home and not providing any financial support to the injured spouse.
    • Intent not to resume cohabitation: One spouse must live separately, permanently, with a different address from the injured spouse.
    • Leaving without consent: For this element of divorce to be valid, one spouse must have disagreed to stop living together. For example, if both spouses consent to living apart, this element of abandonment is not fulfilled.
    • Leaving without provocation: A spouse claiming abandonment must prove he or she did not provoke the other spouse to leave their shared home. He or she cannot have instigated or participated in any behavior that would have given their spouse reason to leave.

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Schedule A Consultation With Our Raleigh Divorce Attorneys

If you feel a divorce from bed and board is the only solution to move forward, or if you need representation to defend claims to obtain this type of divorce, schedule a consultation with our Raleigh family law firm. We put our dedication and experience to work for you to help you meet your goals and move forward with confidence and dignity. Call today at or fill out our form below to get started.

Protecting your Privacy ~ Your privacy is our primary concern. At the Doyle Law Group, we understand the importance of protecting your privacy and will never share your contact information with a 3rd party. Contacting our law firm does not imply any form of attorney-client relationship.

Defining Divorce From Bed And Board

Meek Law Firm

There are two key ways a divorce from bed and board differs from an absolute divorce:

  • One party must have committed at least one of six factors that would make him or her at fault. Fault must be found on the part of one spouse.
  • This is not a legal divorce in that while the parties are required to live separately, the marriage is not dissolved. You can not remarry after obtaining a divorce from bed and board.
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    Defenses That May Be Asserted In A Divorce From Bed And Board Action

    When a spouse files for a divorce from bed and board, the accused spouse has the opportunity to raise defenses in court to show that theyre not at fault. They may be able to prevail in the case if they can prove that the evidence was false or that the complaining spouse was also guilty of misconduct based on any of the North Carolina fault grounds. Provocation of the other spouses behavior, setting up the accused spouse to commit the misconduct, or establishing that the filing spouse condoned the behavior are also common defenses.

    Pros Of Bed And Board Divorce

    • It provides couples the option to live independently from each other. This living setup ensures that you can be physically and financially separate.
    • It allows couples to spend time away from each other instead of being forced into a hostile environment. This time away will allow them to reflect on the future of the marriage or resolve their issues. The law also believes that this space will offer couples a chance to gain a new perspective on what they stand to lose, if they pursue a divorce.
    • It is a good option for people who follow a specific religion that does not support the idea of divorce. Legal separation is a more favorable option for the couple.
    • It allows you to enjoy the financial benefits you share as a couple, such as filing your tax returns jointly as a married couple.
    • For foreign nationals or non-citizens who opt not to divorce , you get to stay in the country instead of risking being deported.

    Read Also: How Long Does Alimony Last In Florida

    How Does Infidelity Affect The Outcome Of A Divorce Case In Wilmington Nc

    When it comes to divorce and family law, North Carolina is a no-fault state. That is, the state law in North Carolina does not, in general, hold a party to be at fault for a divorce. However, in cases involving adultery, infidelity can have a major impact on other claims like alimony, child custody, and property division. Infidelity in North Carolina can be considered grounds for divorce from bed and board, as well. If you are being accused of infidelity or suspect a spouse’s infidelity, contact a family law attorney in Wilmington, North Carolina before proceeding with your divorce case.

    What Are The Effects Of A Decree Of Divorce From Bed And Board

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    Though it does not sever the marriage, a decree of divorce from bed and board may lead to serious consequences relating to a spouses rights to cohabitation and to share in a spouses estate. A judicial separation may also settle the spouses rights to alimony, postseparation support, child custody, and child support.

    As an example, the decree may establish marital misconduct, which could serve as the foundation for a spouses right to alimony or to make other legal claims. It could also affect property rights in an equitable distribution action to determine the spouses marital property rights.

    A spouse who successfully obtains a decree of divorce from bed and board retains certain rights, while the unsuccessful spouse will lose a number of privileges. Specifically, the losing spouse may forfeit certain legal rights, such as the following:

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    Contact An Experienced North Carolina Divorce And Family Law Attorney

    At The Twiford Law Firm, we know that facing divorce isnt easy. Our skilled and knowledgeable divorce and family law attorneys take the time to understand your goals and objectives. We will guide you through every step of the North Carolina divorce process to help ensure a positive outcome in your case. With offices located in Moyock and Elizabeth City, The Twiford Law Firm provides trusted and compassionate representation for divorce, matrimonial matters, and family law issues throughout Northeastern North Carolina and the Outer Banks. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to learn how we can help.

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    Contact The Condo Manager/ Condo Board

    After reviewing the documents outlined above, and depending on the nature and seriousness of your issue, you may want to first speak to the condo manager directly about your concern

    If you do not feel comfortable speaking to them in person, or if youve spoken to them already and the issue has not been resolved, you may want to send a letter.

    The CAO has prepared a helpful letter template which you can find under the Helpful Resources.

    You should try to keep track of the issue you have been experiencing with as much detail as possible. This will help those you contact understand the issue and whats causing the problem. It may be helpful to keep track of:

    • The dateand timethatthe issue occurs
    • The type of issue you are experiencing

    Accordingly, if you are going to send a letter to the condo manager, you should also send a copy to your condo board. Your board may be unaware that there is an issue so it is important to raise it with them so they can take steps to address the issue.

    In other instances, raising the issue with your condo board directly may be more appropriate as they may want to contact someone senior at the condo management company servicing your condo to express concerns.

    As above, you should try to keep track of the issues you have been experiencing with as much detail as possible. This will help those you contact understand the issues and whats causing the problem. It may be helpful to keep track of:

    Excessive Drug And Alcohol Abuse

    Divorce From Bed and Board

    If an accused spouses addiction to or excessive use of alcohol or drugs had a detrimental effect on the complaining spouses life, then this is a sufficient ground for a divorce from bed and board. The complaining spouse must show the intoxication must be more than occasional: to prevail, the accused spouse must be under the influence frequently and regularly lack self-control.

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    What Happens If The Spouses Reconcile

    Under North Carolina law, a decree of divorce from bed and board automatically terminates when spouses reconcile. If the spouses cohabitate after the court enters a decree of divorce from bed and board, their living together may constitute reconciliation.

    Spouses who hold themselves out as husband and wife or who show the intent to live together permanently and integrate their lives are also considered to have reconciled. However, spouses who resume living together on a trial basis do not have the requisite intent to establish reconciliation.

    If a decree of divorce from bed and board terminates due to the spouses reconciliation, the accused spouse regains the rights he or she had lost under the decree. If the spouses separate again after reconciling, they must seek a new decree of divorce from bed and board they cannot reinstate a prior decree.


    A spouse seeking a judicial separation must file the action in the appropriate district court . The proper district court is the one in a county where at least one of the spouses lives. If the complaining spouse lives outside North Carolina, then North Carolina General Statute § 50-8 requires that he or she must file in the district court of the North Carolina county where the defendant lives.

    The same statute requires that at least one of the spouses must have lived in North Carolina for at least 6 months before the complaint is filed.

    Dbb And Property Rights

    You may feel concerned about future plans for your assets, should you pass away unexpectedly before settling your property and beneficiary issues. In that case, speak with a family law attorney about a DBB.

    There is sometimes reason to consider inheritance laws and outcomes during the separation period. A spouse often acts as administrator of the other spouses estate. If you die without a will, your spouse may inherit up to 50% of everything you own. With a DBB, your spouse no longer has any spousal rights to act as administrator or to inherit anything from your estate.

    If you own property together and cannot agree upon how to sell or share the property, a DBB can sometimes give you the right to sell your property without the other spouses signature.

    Read Also: How To Transfer House Title After Divorce

    When Should You Pursue Absolute Divorce Instead

    Every marriage is unique. Therefore, couples go through different problems throughout their relationship.

    Pursuing absolute divorce instead of the bed and board divorce is a matter of personal choice and your current circumstances. If your goal is to be able to remarry, then you should get a divorce. A divorce is also a good option if your spouse is a gambler or someone dealing with unmanageable debt. Divorcing them will free you of the financial burden that they are suffering.

    You can consult your attorney about the best route to take about the future of your marriage. They will be able to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each option with you .

    Garrett, Walker, Aycoth & Olson, Attorneys at Law

    Ground : Abandonment Of The Family

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    In marriage, spouses have the mutual right to society, companionship, and intimate relations. When a spouse neglects any one of these obligations, it qualifies as abandonment. To establish the ground of abandonment, the complaining spouse must establish the following four elements under North Carolina law:

  • the accused spouse intentionally ended cohabitation with the complaining spouse
  • with the intent not to resume cohabitation
  • without the complaining spouses consent and
  • without provocation.
  • Intentionally Ending Cohabitation

    Typically, a complaining spouse establishes the accused spouses intent to end cohabitation by showing the accused spouse left the home and resides elsewhere. Sometimes, it is enough for a spouse complaining of abandonment to show that the accused spouse resides in a separate part of the home or that the accused spouse fails to provide support.

    Keep in mind that a spouse is not required to show that he or she has been affected financially to establish abandonment. For example, if a spouse provides monetary support but leaves the home or lives separately in the home, a court can still consider that spouse to have abandoned the other spouse.

    The intent of the person who abandons a spouse is typically established by the very act of leaving. However, the act must be willful: for example, if a spouse leaves the marital residence due to a court order, the departing spouse does not have the intent required to establish abandonment.

    Leaving Without Consent

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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.

    Why Might I Want a Divorce From Bed and Board?

    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.

    Also Check: How To Avoid Alimony In Florida

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