Have you ever wondered how a family attorney can help in divorce from bed and board? There is a good chance that you are considering divorce but you can’t decide whether or not you should do it. You may have to know the various options available for you. In some states, you can get a legal separation rather than a divorce, which is a similar process to divorce from bed and board. You can get a legal separation by asking the court for a divorce from bed and board.
Remember that a divorce from bed and board is a type of divorce that doesn’t terminate your marriage, though it can have an impact on the rights you and your partner have when it comes to each other’s estates. In most cases, the court can grant it if you and your spouse have been separated for about a year. This post discusses how a family attorney can help in a divorce from bed and board.
Understanding divorce from bed and board
Divorce from bed and board usually has many legal significance’s, but it can be used in several ways. You can use it when you are married and living together with your spouse. Both parties may want to have the house, but no one wants to move out so that there can be separation. Therefore, a single spouse or both spouses can ask the court to determine who should move out of the house to achieve separation.
You should note that divorce from bed and board has different legal consequences from an absolute divorce. Legally, a divorce from bed and board cannot terminate the marriage, but it’s considered to be a more limited type of divorce.
Divorce from bed and board started many years ago when there was a certain level of social stigma in divorce. There are still some people nowadays that judge a person based on their marital status. There are also some reasons why some people may consider a legal process of separation instead of an absolute divorce. Some couples refrain from divorce because of their religious beliefs. Others don’t just want to go through a divorce process, though they may feel the desire to separate themselves from their partners financially for some reasons.
Married couples can seek a divorce from bed and board for the same reasons as a full divorce. But regardless of the reasons, both partners need to accept the procedure. Legally, couples can still be married even after going through a divorce from bed and board. This means you can’t remarry without proceeding into the final judgment of full divorce. Conversion can be an easy procedure, but it still needs you to file extra paperwork and pay extra court fees.
Likewise, couples who decide to reconcile after divorce from bed and board may need to submit an application to have the judgment suspended or revoked. But you can’t do this after a full divorce, so spouses may decide to remarry instead.
A couple in divorce from bed and board can also choose how to share their marital assets and debts and get a settlement agreement. If the couple don’t reach an agreement, then the court can split the marital assets and debts based on equitable distribution rules or it may even give alimony if appropriate.
Consequences of divorce from bed and board
One of the key reasons spouses nowadays opt for divorce from bed and board is because this divorce process usually allows a dependent partner to keep on using health insurance coverage offered by the employer of the supporting spouse.
As you may be aware, health insurance is becoming increasingly expensive, making it hard for a dependent spouse to find affordable insurance after divorce. If the spouse who is employed works for a company that offers health insurance, it makes sense to maintain the same insurance for both partners.
After all, spouses are technically still married after this type of divorce, so the dependent spouse can continue the health insurance coverage using the policy of the employed spouse. In most cases, it tends to make sense for the spouses to consider a divorce from bed and board for a specific period to allow the dependent spouse to look for work that comes with health benefits.
Before you decide to use this option, you need to make sure that you should look into the terms and conditions of the current health insurance policy. For example, if the health insurance policy says that legal separation is a requirement for removal of a partner from coverage, then you have to talk to your lawyer to discuss the potential impact of this type of divorce.
Besides the health insurance policy, divorce from bed and board can be the best way for couples to gain many other economic benefits. There are usually some aspects of this separation that are incomplete compared to a full divorce. Spouses cannot keep on accruing marital assets when the divorce from bed and board is still on. Instead, they can decide to have joint ownership of their marital assets they previously accrued.
Also, the surviving partner can benefit from various pension plans, and get some federal benefits like spousal social security retirement benefits that can be kept in the divorce from bed and board. You can also have other rights, such as the right to inherit property once the other partner passes away without a will as well as the right to receive an elective share from an estate of the deceased partner, when they are not preserved.
Therefore, unless you have good reasons like preservation of insurance coverage to seek a divorce from bed and board, it can be a good idea to have a written settlement agreement before you decide to divorce. In this way, you can protect your financial assets and children without going through a formal legal process. Remember that many courts usually accept such agreements as long as they are in writing and signed by both partners, and not notarized.
Hence, if you decide to divorce from bed and bard, then make sure you find an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer to help you understand this process that can affect your specific situation. This is because this divorce process is not like a full divorce, so few family lawyers are familiar with the different ways it can affect your property rights. It’s also a good idea to speak with an accountant concerning the impact of this type of divorce on your income tax and the best ways you can file your tax returns.
Reasons for filing for divorce from bed and board
Depending on the state where you intend to file a divorce from bed and board, you may qualify for this type of divorce by proving that your partner committed a marital fault. There are several types of marital faults that can establish reasons for a divorce from bed and board.
One of the marital faults for qualifying into a divorce from bed and board is called abandonment. To establish abandonment, the complaining partner needs to show that the accused partner intentionally stopped staying with the complaining partner. The accused partner may either have decided to move to a separate house or separate part of the house.
It can also arise due to constructive abandonment, meaning that the partner was forced to leave the house because of the behavior of the other partner, such as emotional neglect, physical abuse, excessive drinking, and many more.
Abandonment also comes when the accused partner refuses to resume cohabitation, the complaining partner didn’t agree to the separation, and the complaining partner didn’t force the departure of the accused partner.
A marital fault can also come in the form of malicious turning out of doors. This simply means that the accused partner wrongfully evicted the complaining partner from the house.
Cruel and savage treatment is considered to be a marital fault. In most cases, cruel treatment doesn’t really need the complaining partner to prove physical violence. Cruel treatment can include emotional and mental cruelty. Therefore, a partner can complain of cruel treatment when they didn’t provoke the behavior.
Indignity can also be a marital fault, so you need to prove that the accused partner intended to affect a partner’s self-respect or even did something to degrade or humiliate the partner. The behavior needs to be a series of incidents that show the hostility of the accused spouse toward the complainant. Good examples of conduct that many courts find to be good grounds include nagging, neglect, criticism, insults, harassment, and many more. Ideally, the behavior needs to have intended to annoy the complainant. Besides, the complaining spouse needs to demonstrate that they didn’t provoke the behavior.
If a partner is accused of excessive use of or addiction to alcohol and drugs, then the complaining spouse needs to prove that the behavior has a detrimental effect on them. In such cases, this can qualify for a divorce from bed and board. Keep in mind that the complaining partner needs to prove that the intoxication is regular to prevail. In other words, the accused partner has to be under the influence regularly and loses self-control.
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