​Divorce From Bed and Board: Legal Separation in NC


The laws and statutes regarding marital relationships vary across the different states. In North Carolina, there is an option besides seeking divorce in cases of marital disharmony. Divorce from bed and board is the same as legal separation. In deciding to pursue such a course of action, there are many things you should understand.

Legal Separation

A legal separation is a fault-based court order. The marriage still exists but it changes the legal nature of the relationship. Neither spouse can remarry. Divorce from bed and board can lead to either a reconciliation, or more often a dissolution of the marriage through divorce.


A spouse who is a Charlotte, NC resident who claims injury from the marital misconduct of the other spouse can petition for divorce from bed and board. Although North Carolina is a no-fault divorce state, divorce from bed and board is fault-based. There are six legal grounds of fault-based divorce recognized by the state.

  • Adultery – If a spouse engages in sexual intercourse with a person other than his or her spouse, this is grounds for divorce from bed and board. Even one incident of infidelity can be used in this case. If a pattern of infidelity exists, the adultery may also fall under the requirements of other legal grounds.

  • Cruel or barbarous treatment that endangers the life of the other spouse – This may include domestic abuse, emotional abuse and other forms of cruel behavior. A pattern of adultery can also meet the requirements of this ground.

  • Indignities to the person of the other – This type of behavior includes degrading the other spouse, physical abuse, and public humiliation. The plaintiff has to show a pattern of this behavior. A pattern of adultery can meet this definition.

  • Abandonment of the family – A spouse who moves to a separate residence or part of the home satisfies this ground. It also includes using abusive behavior to force the other spouse to leave the home.

  • Malicious turning out the other spouse out of doors – One spouse sends the other out of the home.

  • Excessive use of alcohol or drugs – This can be used as a ground if one spouse can show that the substance abuse of the other spouse has interfered with the marital relationship. The accusing spouse must also show a frequent and regular pattern of substance abuse.

When a court grants a divorce from bed and board, it legally ends the obligation for the couple to live together. The at-fault spouse may be forced to leave the marital home. The court may also order alimony or child support to be paid. In cases of court ordered support, marital misconduct can be used to determine the payments.

Divorce from Bed and Board

Any type of divorce or family law proceedings can be stressful and confusing. If you have questions about whether divorce from bed and board is the right action for you to take, contact the family law attorneys at Emblem Legal. These attorneys have the knowledge and experience to properly approach your case. You will be properly guided to take the appropriate course of action. Contact us today to set up a free consultation.