A bed and board divorce is a specific type of divorce that exists in some jurisdictions. The term “bed and board divorce” can mean different things depending on the location.
If you're considering a bed and board divorce, it's essential to understand what it is and how it works.
What is the purpose of bed and board divorce?
A bed and board divorce creates a legal separation between spouses, but it doesn't result in a complete divorce.
In this type of action, the couple retains their marital status but lives separately. This form of divorce is often used when couples want to separate but aren't ready or willing to get divorced entirely. Bed and board divorces are often granted to couples who have religious beliefs about or moral objections to divorce or who wish to retain certain legal benefits of marriage, such as health insurance, an inheritance, or Social Security benefits.
In a bed and board divorce, the court may make decisions about child custody, visitation, and child support. Similarly, the court may make decisions about spousal support, marital property division, and debts.
A bed and board divorce is not a final divorce, and the couple cannot remarry because they are still legally married.
What states offer bed and board divorce?
Right now, only a few states offer married couples the option of a bed and board divorce, but they all have strict rules about eligibility. They are:
- New Jersey
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
What are the grounds for bed and board divorce?
The grounds for bed and board divorce vary based on where you live. However, there are some common reasons that may be accepted in many states, including:
- Adultery: If one spouse commits adultery, it may serve as grounds for a bed and board divorce.
- Desertion: If one spouse abandons the other for an extended period, it may serve as grounds for a bed and board divorce.
- Extreme cruelty: If one spouse exhibits extreme cruelty toward the other, it may serve as grounds for a bed and board divorce.
- Drug or alcohol addiction: If one spouse has an addiction that negatively impacts the other spouse and their family, it may serve as grounds for a bed and board divorce.
If your state is a no-fault divorce state, you don't have to state a reason for your divorce other than irreconcilable differences. In states with bed and board divorce, the same holds true if irreconcilable differences are an acceptable ground for divorce in that state.
What legal processes are involved in a bed and board divorce?
The legal processes involved in a bed and board divorce vary by location. In some states, the couple must live separately for a specified period before they can file for a bed and board divorce. In other states, the process is relatively straightforward and involves completing the necessary paperwork, filing it with the court, and attending a hearing.
In every case, however, both spouses must agree to a bed and board divorce. If one spouse does not want to go this route, a regular dissolution of marriage must occur.
Are you thinking of bed and board divorce? You don’t necessarily need a pricey divorce attorney or a lengthy and costly divorce process. We invite you to schedule a free 15-minute call with us to see how we can help you. Hello Divorce offers affordable plans and services that can help you navigate the complexities of ending your marriage and starting a new chapter.