Who Can File for Divorce From Bed and Board?

Legal separation allows a couple to remain married, maintaining the financial advantages of marriage while being able to live separate lives. An absolute divorce completely dissolves the marriage. If the couple reconciles, the court can set aside the judgment of legal separation and revoke any orders in place relating to maintenance, child support, and custody.

There are two types of divorce recognized in our jurisdiction namely absolute divorce and divorce by bed and board. Only a few numbers of people know about this. Most of the time, divorcing couples mistake one from the other. In this article, the focus will be about the second type.

What Is Divorce From Bed and Board?

It is a type of divorce[1], which is a fault-based legal action. Unlike absolute divorce, it does not completely sever the marital ties between the couples. When a party prays for this type of divorce, the court will only issue a decree of legal separation. As an effect, the marriage is not completely dissolved. Therefore, both the parties are not legally allowed to contract a new marriage.

While it does not dissolve the marriage, the parties are completely separated from each other. The court, through a divorce decree, will order their respective rights and obligations. In most cases, this type of divorce is not really necessary when the parties have entered into a valid and binding separation agreement. In such case, the said contract will be the law between them.

The said husband or wife must have sufficient grounds for his or her petition to prosper. At the same time, the burden of proving the existence of the said grounds lies on the spouse praying for the divorce. The adverse party may also present evidence in his or her defense upon the request of the proper court.

Divorce by bed and board is the right action to file if you are seeking to have an exclusive possession of the marital home. Once it is found by the court that one of the grounds exists and that the other party is guilty thereof, it may order the offending spouse to move out of the house. It must be noted that in this type of divorce, there is merely a suspension of the effect of the marriage between the spouses. There is no dissolution of the marriage bond.

Who Can File for This Kind of Divorce?

The injured party has the right to file an action for divorce from bed and board in a court with proper jurisdiction. There is a need for the complaining spouse to sufficiently show to the court the existence of one of the six grounds provided under the 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.

Do You Need a Lawyer?

There is a need to have a representative in all the trials and hearings that the court may hold in connection to the action for divorce from bed and board. Therefore, it is necessary to hire the services of a law office to guarantee proper representation. The assistance of a divorce attorney can help a particular party to convince the court why the issuance of a decree for legal separation is warranted.


References: [1]Bed & Board


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