In North Carolina, there are two types of divorces, an absolute divorce and a divorce from bed and board. (DBB). An “absolute divorce” is a typical divorce that dissolves a marriage and allows a person to remarry. In our state, after a one year separation, either spouse may seek an absolute divorce. In contrast, the court must find there is marital fault before granting a DBB, which requires the spouse at fault to move out of the marital residence. The court enters an official DBB decree, stating that only the husband or the wife shall have the right to live in the marital home. In that event, the other spouse must leave the home. Why do all of this to separate? Because people are correctly reluctant to move out of the family home for fear of committing abandonment. If a judge rules there is marital fault, it can easily cause a great deal of harm to a spouse during divorce litigation. This DBB process of a judge declaring a person to be legally separated is a rare event indeed, but it is still alive and well in our state.
Laws change. This article is current as of 2023.