Divorce from bed and board is different from an absolute divorce. An absolute divorce completely dissolves the marital relationship. In North Carolina, couples must be separated for at least one year before they are eligible for an absolute divorce. Absolute divorce does not require any fault by either individual. Divorce from bed and board is different because fault by one spouse is required. Divorce from bed and board also differs in that it is not a complete divorce. The spouses are not free to remarry following a divorce from bed and board. It can also be described as a court-ordered legal separation.
What qualifies as marital fault?
Marital fault for the purposes of divorce from bed and board includes:
- Abandoning the spouse or family
- Excessive alcohol or drug use that burdens or endangers the spouse or family
- Maliciously evicting the complaining spouse
- Indignities that make life unbearable for the innocent spouse
Why would anyone want a divorce from bed and board instead of an absolute divorce?
There are several benefits of a divorce from bed and board. In North Carolina, a divorce from bed and board can be obtained more quickly than an absolute divorce. This is assuming the parties are not yet legally separated or have only recently separated. In some situations, divorce from bed and board is used to get one spouse to move out. Typically, situations like this involve the spouse who committed marital fault refusing to move out of the marital residence.
Divorces from bed and board can also be beneficial when the spouses cannot reach a separation agreement. The court essentially orders that the parties cannot cohabitate and decides which, if either, party should continue living in the marital residence. An additional scenario in which divorce from bed and board is useful is when the parties’ religion disfavors divorce. This is because despite the name, divorce from bed and board is not technically a divorce, but a separation.
What else happens after a divorce from bed and board?
After a divorce from bed and board, the guilty spouse cannot inherit any property from the innocent spouse. This is true whether the innocent spouse has a will or not. Even if the innocent spouse’s will includes the guilty spouse, the guilty spouse cannot take according to the will. In addition, if the couple begins living together again, the divorce from bed and board is void.
If you have additional questions or are interested in obtaining a divorce from bed and board, Contact King Law at 888-748- (5464)KING for a consultation. We have offices located across western North Carolina and upstate South Carolina. King Law is here to serve you and help navigate this journey you are on.