Divorce From Bed and Board

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How to Get  a Divorce From Bed and Board

The grounds for getting a Divorce from Bed and Board are “fault-based.” Unlike an Absolute Divorce, the trial can be in front of a jury as the following grounds for Divorce from Bed and Board are issues of fact. The grounds include:

1. Abandonment

This essentially means the other spouse leaves you without good cause. One spouse generally stops cohabiting without justification and without the consent of the other spouse, all with the intent of ending the relationship.

2. Constructive Abandonment

If the spouse that leaves is justified in leaving, because of the other spouse’s bad acts, the leaving spouse is the injured party. Thus the injured spouse can bring a claim for Divorce from Bed and Board. Note that in one case, the North Carolina courts have stated that physically leaving the marital residence may not be necessary to establish grounds for this cause of action.

3. Cruel Treatment

This is where one spouse’s cruel treatment endangers the life of the other spouse even though physical violence is not required. Cruel treatment can be shown through verbal abuse.

4. Indignities

As a flexible ground for this action, this can be shown by repeated patterns of unreasonable behavior, abuse, humiliation, nagging, repeated false accusations of adultery, or verbal abuse in public.

5. Drug Abuse

A spouse becomes essentially addicted to drugs or uses intoxicating substances in excess which places the other spouse in danger from having to live with the intoxicant abuser.

6. Commission of Adultery

One spouse commits adultery (straight forward).

Defenses to Each Ground 

There are several major common law defenses to an action for Divorce from Bed and Board.

1. Condonation

One spouse conditionally forgives the other spouse for the bad acts that were committed during the marriage. This means that, once the spouse is forgiven by the other spouse, that past act can no longer serve as ground for Divorce from Bed and Board.

2. Collusion

This is a corrupt agreement between the spouses to falsely create a fault based ground.

3. Connivance

This is where one spouse encourages the other spouse to commit a bad act with the simple motive to “catch them” to create a ground for Divorce from Bed and Board.

4. Recrimination

This occurs when one spouse can point to the bad acts of the other spouse to justify their own bad acts. Essentially the argument goes like “she/he did this, therefore I did that.”

The Difference Between an Absolute Divorce and a Divorce from Bed and Board

A divorce from bed and board is a court order stating that you and your spouse are legally separated. Similar to an Absolute Divorce, you may qualify to ask the court for post-separation support, alimony, child custody, child support, and attorney’s fees. However, the main difference between the two is that you and your spouse are not actually “divorced”; you are simply legally separated. Thus, unlike an Absolute Divorce, you are not free to remarry. In order to remarry, you must obtain an Absolute Divorce (which requires living separate and apart for the required time period).

There are many grounds for getting a divorce from bed and board including the following: abandonment or turning out of the spouse, constructive abandonment, cruel treatment, indignities, drug abuse, and adultery. Of course, there are several defenses to any of the above grounds including: recrimination, condonation, connivance, and collusion.

To learn more about Absolute Divorce click here.


Disclaimer: The information contained on this page is merely for educational purposes only. No legal advice is being given to the viewer of these webpages. No attorney client relationship is created between you, the reader, and the attorney named in this website. An attorney client relationship is only created between you and the attorney after you have met with the attorney in-person and the attorney has agreed to represent you. As in any case, the facts and circumstances of each client may change the outcome of the case. And always, the law in North Carolina is continuously changing and being updated. Schedule an appointment to talk with an attorney before you take any legal action.

Divorce lawyer in Hendersonville, N.C.

+Derek Jones

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