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Fault Divorce in North Carolina

Fault Divorce Law & Divorce from Bed and Board in North Carolina

In the eyes of the law, marriage is considered a contract. A divorce prematurely ends the marriage contract when a judge signs an order granting the divorce. North Carolina is officially a no-fault divorce state. There are, however, times when fault is considered. What is meant by a fault divorce? A fault divorce is based on the bad conduct or behavior of one spouse. In a no-fault divorce, your grounds for filing for divorce are that you and your spouse have been separated for one year and one day with the intention of remaining separated. In a fault divorce, however, one or more of the following grounds will be claimed:

  • Abandoning your spouse
  • Maliciously forcing your spouse out of your marital home
  • Endangering your spouse’s life by treating him/her in a “cruel and barbarous” way
  • Making your spouse’s life intolerable by treating him/her cruelly
  • Making your spouse’s life unbearable by using drugs and alcohol excessively
  • Committing adultery

The above acts are also known as acts of marital misconduct. If it is established that you have committed one of the above acts, you have committed a fault against your spouse. This gives your spouse “grounds” for divorce.

Divorce from Bed and Board

A divorce from bed and board is North Carolina’s legal or judicial separation. Some key points about a divorce from bed and board:

  • Divorce from bed and board requires one spouse to have committed a fault against the other.
  • It is a limited form of divorce – meaning you cannot remarry after divorce from bed and board
  • May be used to force one spouse out of the marital home in the event of abuse, etc.

A divorce from bed and board allows the judge to rule on certain issues – namely, who will have possession of the marital home.

Absolute Divorce

When a judge signs the judgment or order granting absolute divorce, the marriage relationship between two parties is terminated. The parties are then permitted to remarry if they wish and they have no further obligation to their former spouse. In North Carolina, divorce is officially known as absolute divorce. Once you have been separated for one year and one day, you are eligible to file for absolute divorce.

Ready to file Absolute Divorce?

There is no law that requires one to use a lawyer to file for absolute divorce. If you and your spouse own property together, however, or you have a claim for alimony, it is important that you speak with an attorney to preserve your interests. Once a Judgment of Divorce is entered, if they are not preserved, they are lost forever. To learn more about absolute divorce, we have assembled this information for you to follow.