In North Carolina, you have several options if you wish to end your marriage permanently or on a trial basis. One of those options is divorce from bed and board, which the North Carolina Judicial Branch explains is actually a form of separation. The name is a bit misleading as it suggests this is a form of divorce.

Separation is not a legal end to a marriage, but it does allow you to get an idea of what a divorce might be like. You can draw up a separation agreement, which is similar to a divorce agreement. You live apart. There is even the option for getting a child support order in place as well as a custody arrangement and spousal support, if needed. The main difference is that your marriage is still legal whereas in a divorce, your marriage legally ends.

Divorce from bed and board is just a complex way of saying that the court orders you and your spouse to go through a separation. It is only available if you can provide proof of a need for the separation. It must be a serious issue in your marriage, such as drug abuse. A divorce from bed and board can be the start of a true divorce. However, there is a waiting period of one year before you can file for a divorce.

Essentially, a divorce from bed and board is an involuntary separation on the part of one spouse. If you both agree on the separation, you would go through the steps required without a court order. However, if your spouse refuses a separation and you have serious grounds for a request, you can go to court for a DBB. This information is for education and is not legal advice.