Fault-Based Grounds for Divorce in North Carolina

Marriage, in the eyes of the law, is a contract; a contract that can be broken when a judge signs an order granting divorce. Officially, the State of North Carolina is a no-fault divorce state, which means that fault does not enter into the divorce process. The fact is, however, that there are circumstances in which fault is taken into consideration. If you pursue a no-fault divorce, your grounds for filing are that you and your soon-to-be ex have been separated for at least one year and that you intend to remain separated. In a divorce based on fault, your divorce is predicated on your spouse’s bad behavior. If you are need of a fault-based divorce, you need the professional legal counsel of an experienced Raleigh divorce lawyer on your side. 

Absolute Divorce

In North Carolina, divorce is known as an “absolute divorce,” which means that the marriage has come to a complete and final end. North Carolina also has what is known as a “divorce from bed and board,” which is much closer to a legal separation, but it generally addresses many of the same issues that would be addressed in a divorce, including child support, child custody arrangements, and the division of marital property. 

There are only two ways to obtain an absolute divorce in North Carolina, and those are:

  1. The spouses lived apart from one another for at least one year (in separate homes).
  2. The spouses lived apart from one another for at least three years as a result of one spouse’s incurable insanity (based on testimony from two doctors).

Divorce from bed and board, on the other hand is based on one of several fault-based grounds. Finally, it’s important to recognize that although an absolute divorce is not based on fault, fault can play an important role in the outcome of your divorce because the judge can take marital fault into consideration when making final decisions regarding the important elements of your divorce. 

Divorce from Bed and Board

If you have been injured by your spouse’s marital misconduct, you can seek a divorce from bed and board based on fault. Although such a separation does not completely end your marriage, it does result in legal separation and addresses the same major financial and custody arrangements that an absolute divorce would. Until you obtain an absolute divorce, however, you will not be able to remarry. The grounds (or fault) for a divorce from bed and board include:

  1. Abandonment 

  2. Cruelty

  3. Drug and/or alcohol abuse

  4. Adultery

  5. Indignities

If You Are Facing Divorce, Consult with an Experienced Raleigh Divorce Lawyer Today

No divorce is easy, but when fault plays a role, the divorce process is often that much more arduous. If you are moving toward a divorce that is based on your spouse’s bad conduct, the dedicated and compassionate divorce lawyers at Daphne Edwards Divorce & Family Law in Raleigh are committed to helping you. We’re on your side, so please don’t hesitate to contact us online or call us at (919) 838-7160 today.

The information contained in this article and throughout this website is correct and accurate as of the date of publication of the content. While accurate and informative, the content is provided to help you make decisions in choosing a lawyer to help you through your divorce. You should not rely on this general information as legal advice. Please seek advocacy with an experienced family law attorney in order to gain full understanding of the elements of your family law matter. Daphne Edwards is available for comprehensive and confidential consultation by appointment. Call 919-838-7160 to schedule yours today.