Divorce From Bed and Board

Written by: Kaitlin Romanelli Myers, Esq.

Divorce from bed and board is North Carolina’s form of legal separation. Despite having divorce in its tile, it’s not actually a divorce. Divorce from bed and board is a tool that can be utilized when the married parties are living together and neither party wants to leave the marital residence, or when one party attempts to refuse a separation.

Divorce from bed and board can only occur if a specific set of facts exist. First, the parties must be married, and living in the same home, and there needs to be at least of the following “fault-based” grounds:

  1. Abandonment;
  2. Malicious turning of doors;
  3. Cruel or barbarous treatment that endangers the life of the other;
  4. Offering indignities to the person as to render their condition intolerable or life burdensome;
  5. Excessive use of alcohol or drugs as to render the condition of the other intolerable or life burdensome;
  6. Adultery

A Court will grant a divorce from bed and board when one of the grounds is proven at a trial and no defenses exist. The defenses to divorce from bed and board are:

  1. Collusion;
  2. Connivance;
  3. Condonation; and
  4. Recrimination

If a party can prove that a defense exists, then the divorce from bed and board will not be granted by the Court.

An Order granting a divorce from bed and board, will act as a legal separation, giving parties a separation date. The parties must remain separated for one-year before they are eligible for divorce. The Order will further state which party must move out of the marital residence, giving one party the home in the interim.

A decree for divorce from bed and board can have serious consequences, establishing fault grounds that may be used for claims of alimony or post-separation support.

The family law attorneys at Hall Booth Smith, P.C. are here to help you through the mediation process and any subsequent trials. If you have questions about divorce from bed and board, you should consult with an attorney to discuss the specific facts of your case and your options moving forward. If you have a custody matter in Asheville or the surrounding areas, you can call 828-232-4481.

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