A divorce from bed and board is a fault-based action. Unlike absolute divorce, it does not result to the complete dissolution of the marriage between the parties. Its effect merely consists in the legal separation of the spouses but the marital contract or ties continue to subsist. This means that both the husband and the wife cannot enter into a new contract of marriage. Otherwise, either or both of them will be held liable for the case of bigamy which is punishable by imprisonment under our jurisdiction.
A party who wants to avail of this type of divorce must file the proper case in court. There is a need to properly allege the existence of one of the six faults enumerated under our law, to wit:
– Abandonment of the husband or wife of the family;
– Maliciously turning the offended or complaining spouse out of doors;
– Treating the offended or complaining spouse in a cruel or barbarous way to the point that it endangers his or her life;
– Indignities that render the offended or complaining spouse’s condition intolerable or life overly burdensome;
– Excessive drug or alcohol use that makes the offended or complaining spouse’s condition intolerable or life overly burdensome;
– Adultery committed by one of the spouses.
While this type of action does not result to the complete dissolution of the marriage, it will still result to affecting the rights and obligations of the parties involved. When the judge issues a decree of divorce by bed and board, it is not limited only to granting the legal separation. It may also include a resolution of the alimony of the offended spouse, the payment for child support and award of child custody. For example, the guilty spouse may be adjudged liable for the payment of the alimony by reason of his or her misconduct during the marriage. The judge can also rule that the offending party be thrown out of the conjugal dwelling or the family home.
If the parties to the said case reconciles after the issuance of the decree, the said decree of divorce by bed and board is automatically terminated. As a result, the spouses regain all the rights that they have lost by virtue of the previous decree or order from the court. To have a better understanding about these matters, you can always contact your custody attorney in Waukesha, Wisconsin who can answer all your legal questions. At the same time, the said legal counsel can assist you during the court proceedings to assure that a judgment will be issued in your favor.