My Spouse Won’t Leave: What Do I Do? – Divorce From Bed and Board

My Spouse Won’t Leave: What Do I Do? – Divorce From Bed and Board

What is a divorce from bed and board and is it an option to get my spouse out of the home?

It is not uncommon for spouses to disagree about whether they should get a divorce.  Even if both spouses agree to a divorce, they may not be able to decide who should move out of the house.  To obtain a no-fault absolute divorce in North Carolina, the parties must be physically separated for a year.   If neither party is willing to move, a frequent question of potential clients is “how can I make my spouse leave the home?”  The short answer is – speak with your attorney about your specific situation. But, in situations such as this, your attorney may advise you to file a claim for divorce from bed and board.

Divorce from bed and board is different from absolute divorce.  A divorce from bed and board is a legal action available in North Carolina which establishes a legal separation between two parties.  If successful, one of the spouses will be ordered to leave the marital residence.

In North Carolina, divorce from bed and board is based on fault.  Meaning, you must prove the other spouse did one of the following:

  1. Abandoned his or her family;
  2. Maliciously turned you out of doors (i.e. wrongfully evicted you from the home);
  3. Endangered your life by cruel or barbarous treatment;
  4. Offered such indignities against you as to render your condition intolerable and life burdensome;
  5. Excessively uses alcohol or drugs so as to render your condition intolerable and life burdensome; or
  6. Committed adultery.

A divorce from bed and board can take some time as there is usually a backlog of cases on Judges’ calendars.  For that reason, it may be appropriate to try to negotiate with your spouse to leave the premises either before or while you attempt to obtain a divorce from bed and board.

You should speak with a knowledgeable divorce attorney about the complexities of a claim for divorce from bed and board and whether or not it is an appropriate action for you to take in your own circumstances.

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About Bonnie Thompson

Bonnie Thompsonis a solo attorney and has been licensed to practice law in North Carolina since 2013. She enjoys legal writing and research and currently focuses these talents by contracting remote legal services to North Carolina law firms. Her background is in domestic violence victim advocacy. Before transitioning her practice, she represented clients in family and child welfare matters for almost three years.