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DIVORCE FROM BED AND BOARD: WHEN ONE SPOUSE WON'T MOVE OUT

DIVORCE FROM BED AND BOARD: WHEN ONE SPOUSE WON'T MOVE OUT

undefinedWhen a couple decides to separate, usually the next decision is deciding who will move out of the home. This is a huge decision, which can also be a financial hardship, and one you should not make before speaking with a family law attorney. You are not legally separated in North Carolina until one spouse moves of the house and has no intention of resuming the marital relationship.
What do you do when neither party agrees to move out? In North Carolina, your legal recourse in that situation is to petition the court for a Divorce from Bed and Board. Essentially you are asking the Court to order your spouse to move out of the home so that legal separation can begin. Do not confuse this with the other type of divorce in North Carolina, an absolute divorce, which occurs after you have been legally separated for a year and the marriage becomes completely dissolved. If you obtain a Divorce from Bed and Board, you are not legally divorced and able to remarry. You still must wait the one year North Carolina requires you to be separated before becoming legally divorced.
Let’s take a quick look at what it takes to obtain a Divorce from Bed and Board. The North Carolina General Statutes require you to prove fault of your spouse. Fault can be abandonment, treatment that endangers your life, excessive use of alcohol or drugs so that it makes your life intolerable, adultery and other acts of marital misconduct. You must be able to prove fault to get an Order granting your claim of Divorce from Bed and Board.
After filing your Complaint seeking a Divorce from Bed and Board, your case will be heard by a District Court Judge. If the Judge grants your claim, she will then enter an Order setting out which spouse will move out of the home and give a timeline for it to happen. You may then proceed with other important claims related to your divorce such as post-separation support (temporary alimony) and child support.
If you find yourself in this situation of wanting a separation but neither you nor your spouse is willing to move out, give our office a call. We can help you determine if your spouse’s behavior is enough to prove fault and determine if asking the Court for a Divorce from Bed and Board is right for you.
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