WBTW reported in 2019, North Carolina had 64,832 marriages and 32,862 divorces. What these figures do not account for are legal separations, which often lead to the end of a marriage.
One type of separation is Divorce from Bed and Board. The name is misleading because this is not a divorce. It is a formal means for spouses to live separately and address specific issues without ending the marriage but requires specific circumstances.
Requirements for a DBB
One of the unique aspects of Divorce from Bed and Board is that it requires proving fault. There must be a legal ground for this form of separation with evidence. Acceptable grounds include abandonment, cruel treatment or other forms of misconduct that make living together intolerable. Without proving a serious fault, a DBB is not an option. Instead, the couple would need to go through a basic separation.
As with divorce, there is no need for the couple to file together. One spouse can initiate the process without the other’s agreement.
Effects of a DBB
A DBB does not terminate the marriage. It gives legal recognition to the spouses’ decision to live apart and allows for the creation of an agreement that may cover financial support arrangements and allocate responsibilities related to children.
While Divorce from Bed and Board provides a legal avenue for couples in conflict. If reconciliation becomes possible, the spouses can choose to resume cohabitation. Alternatively, the legal separation may pave the way for a later conversion to an absolute divorce, should the spouses decide to officially end their marriage.