What Are The Grounds For Divorce in Family Law?

Last Updated on June 22, 2022 by Andrew

In many states, there are possibilities for you to get legal separation by going through the court, and then you can ask for a divorce. This sort of divorce isn’t exactly the end of the marriage, but it does affect the rights the two people might have had over each other. This is called divorce from bed and board.

It is important to know that the injured spouse has the power to request a divorce from bed and board.

According to the law of some states, like North Carolina, to qualify for a divorce from bed and board, you would be required to show that your spouse has committed any marital fault. This means there would be some sort of proof required. These are the grounds on which one can obtain a divorce from bed and board:


To establish abandonment as the ground to get a divorce from bed and board, the spouse complaining must show four required things. The first thing is that the accused spouse voluntarily stops living with the complaining spouse.

This can include either moving to a separate residence or any other part of the home. Constructive abandonment is also included, which means that the spouse who is departing would be driven to leave by the other spouse’s behavior, which can include any physical or mental harm, neglect, excessive drinking or use of substances, etc.

The second requirement would be that the accused spouse should not intend to resume cohabitation. The third thing is that the spouse who is complaining might not have consented to the separation, and the last one is that the complaining spouse might not provoke the departure of the accused spouse.

Spiteful and Malicious turning out of doors

As you can probably tell from the name, the malicious turning out of doors means that the accused spouse would have been wrongfully evicted by the spouse who was complaining.

Barbarous, cruel, and neglectful treatment

As you can tell from the name, this part includes the cruel treatment of the spouse by the accused one. However, it is important to know that the cruel part wouldn’t necessarily mean physically hurting the other spouse. It means to encompass any sort of emotional or mental cruelty and behavior. The spouse who complains about the other person can’t provoke the behavior.


According to many state laws, like the family law australia , if you have to qualify as an indignity, then the behavior is supposed to affect the self-respect and ego of the spouse. It is supposed to be an act of humiliation and intentionally embarrassing or degrading the other person. The complaining spouse is supposed to prove that the behavior by the accused spouse wasn’t provoked in any way.

The conduct would have to be a list of incidents in which it is proven that the accused was indeed hostile and used to humiliate the complaining spouse. Only one such incident wouldn’t be considerable enough.

Examples of such conduct include neglect, nagging, indifferences, insults, criticism, use of alcohol and drugs, harassment, and abuse. Moreover, it can also include addiction to pornography and mental abuse.

Excessively using drugs and alcohol

Excessive use of drugs and alcohol tends to be one of the major reasons which many couples split up. Excessive use of such substances leads to altering one’s behavior and becoming extremely abusive.

The addiction can obviously have a detrimental effect on the complaining spouse’s life. Hence, this reason is one the sufficient grounds to ask for a divorce from bed and board.

The complaining spouse is supposed to show intoxication and show it is more than occasional. This will help lead the case in the complaining spouse’s direction. The accused spouse being under the influence frequently and regularly would mean a lack of self-control in the accused spouse.


Adultery means extramarital affairs and marital infidelity. This is obviously a major reason why marriages might qualify for divorce from bed and board. It is considered cruelty and indignity as well, and cheating on one’s spouse is an act and ground leading to the divorce. This ground is enough to be eligible for a divorce from bed and board in North Carolina.

How to defeat the spouse’s claims?

If you are the accused spouse, and you are not completely okay with the claims and accusations, then there are a few ways through which you can defend the claims for divorce from bed and board.

In order to defeat the complaining spouse’s claims, you would obviously have to show that the evidence provided against you is false. Hence, there are four ways in which the accused spouse usually replies in this case.


Usually, it is common that the spouses don’t use collusion as a defense to the claims. A colluding spouse basically means the spouse who plots with the other spouse to form the evidence of marital problems in the relationship, which won’t exist. This is to obtain the divorce decree. As mentioned before, this is a good strategy, but mostly when the other spouse is working with the accused spouse.


A conniving spouse usually brings the accused spouse’s misconduct out front. This shows that there is marital misconduct, as the spouse bringing about this misconduct shows that the setting up isn’t normal. If you collect evidence that this is happening, it would be considered a good strategy.


In this, the complaining spouse forgives the accused person’s misconduct, and then the accused raises the defense of condonation. Due to this, it is pointed out that the accused spouse can return to the marital home.


This is a defense claim where the accused person turns the table and instead blames the complaining person for misconduct in the marital relationship. This isn’t only an example of a defense claim but also one of the grounds for getting defense from the bed and board. 


Conclusively, there are a few grounds for getting a divorce from the bed and board, which can lead to the spouses figuring out ways to prove each other’s misconduct.

However, the complaining spouse ends up finding evidence to show that the accused spouse is involved in behavior that causes trouble in the marriage, which leads to further consideration of the divorce.

The grounds include reasons like substance use and abuse, mental instability, emotional drainage, mentally harming the person, domestic violence, or any sort of public or private humiliation. An extramarital affair is also an important ground in getting a divorce.

Andrew is a passionate blogger who loves to write about fashion, health business etc. I shares insights, ideas, and stories to inspire our readers.