Contrary to it's name, a Divorce from Bed & Board does not grant a final divorce. Instead, it is a fault-based legal action that results in a court-ordered determination of legal separation. In reality, a Divorce from Bed & Board may be necessary when both parties cannot come to an agreement as to who remains in the marital home. The following are the fault-based grounds for a Divorce from Bed & Board from NC General Statute Section 50.7:
- Abandonment of the Family
- Maliciously turning the complaining spouse out of doors
- Treating the complaining spouse in such a cruel or barbarous way that it endangers his or her life
- Indignities that render the complaining spouse's condition intolerable or life overly burdensome
- Excessive drug or alcohol use that makes the complaining spouse's condition intolerable or life overly burdensome
The courts have interpreted the application of these fault-based grounds through years and years of case law. No two separations include the exact same facts, hence there are literally hundreds of opinions on what set of facts and circumstances constitute one or more of these grounds. You should consult an experienced divorce attorney to discuss whether or not a Divorce from Bed & Board is an option for you. Next week we will get into Equitable Distribution which is property distribution in North Carolina.