Always a source of confusion, divorce from bed and board is distinctly different from an absolute divorce. An absolute divorce is granted after a full year of separation between the parties. Only an absolute divorce can terminate a couple’s marriage status. However, even if an individual is granted a divorce from bed and board, that individual cannot remarry until he or she is granted an absolute divorce. What this means is that a divorce from bed and board can be granted prior to separation.
Fault or “marital misconduct” is a critical factor in determining whether an individual should receive a divorce from bed and board. However, only the injured party can seek and be awarded a divorce from bed and board. The party seeking this divorce must establish at least one of six fault grounds: (1) abandonment, (2) malicious turning out of doors, (3) cruel or barbarous treatment, (4) indignities, (5) excessive use of alcohol or drugs rendering the condition of the other spouse intolerable, or (6) adultery. At the same time, the party seeking this action must allege that he or she did not provoke the other spouse’s misconduct. If granted, a divorce from bed and board is a judicial decree stating that the married couple is legally separated. Even though both parties are only separated, a divorce from bed and board allows you to file for alimony, child custody and child support at the same time.
What about the marital residence? There are two possible options. One, a spouse who has demanded post-separation support, alimony and/or equitable distribution, and is also granted a divorce from bed and board may be able to leave the marital residence without the supporting spouse later claiming abandonment. This is sometimes beneficial where one party wishes to leave, but is unable. Or two, a spouse that is granted a divorce From bed and board may be able to force the other spouse to move out of the marital residence through court order. Clearly, divorce from bed and board has its benefits and detriments.
A divorce From bed and board is not always an available or advisable option. Contact a Charlotte divorce attorney at Skufca Law to discuss your options.