There are two types of divorces in North Carolina: (1) absolute divorce and (2) divorce from bed and board.
Absolute divorce is the official ending of the marriage, completely ending the marital rights and duties between the parties. To obtain an absolute divorce, the parties need only show that they have lived separate and apart for at least one year with the intent to dissolve the marital bonds. No fault is required.
Unlike absolute divorce, a divorce from bed and board is based on fault. A divorce from bed and board DOES NOT dissolve the marriage. It merely creates a legal separation between the parties and establishes certain rights and duties of each party until a final divorce (the absolute divorce discussed earlier) is obtained.
To obtain a divorce from bed and board, one spouse must prove that the other spouse committed at least one of the following six grounds listed in North Carolina General Statute § 50.7:
1. Abandonment of the family;
2. Maliciously turning the complaining spouse out of doors;
3. Treating the complaining spouse in such a cruel or barbarous way that it endangers his or her life;
4. Indignities that render the complaining spouse’s condition intolerable or life overly burdensome;
5. Excessive drug or alcohol use that makes the complaining spouse’s condition intolerable or life overly burdensome;