Difference Between Bed and Board Divorce and Legal Separation

By: | Updated: Oct-14, 2023
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When considering the official termination of your relationships, you may want to apply for some regulatory statuses beforehand. This will help you control the situation fully even long before your marriage comes to an end.

With the separation and its list of alternatives, you can easily get lost and make mistakes when taking the next step. So it is necessary for you to learn the main concepts and differences between them before you make crucial decisions for your family life. Reach out to reliable platforms, such as https://onlinedivorcer.com/, cooperate with your attorney, and read on to get educated on the bed and board divorce and legal separation peculiarities and succeed with your choice in the end.

Difference Between Bed and Board Divorce and Legal Separation

Bed and Board Divorce vs. Legal Separation Definitions

Begin with approaching the legal meaning of two solutions in your state. The family law legislature is different in every state so you have to address jurisdiction-specific regulations only. Check out the common meanings of the two approaches first.

Legal separation is an official process applied to regulate your relationships but not terminating your marriage fully. It allows you to gain financial, physical, and other kinds of independence from each other with orders from the court regulating your possible interactions. Legal separation for a specified time is often an official requirement before you can get a divorce in some states.

Often known as a limited divorce, bed and board divorce is a form of legal separation. Yet, the term and its underlying process are applicable in some states only. It doesn’t end the marriage finally but allows the application of certain regulations to protect the partners and their rights from each other before the end solution is brought into action.

Mind that in both cases you remain officially married and cannot marry anyone else before you get finally divorced.

Bed and Board Divorce Legal Separation
Definition A bed and board divorce is a legal separation granted by the court that allows spouses to live separately while maintaining the marital status.
Marital Status In a bed and board divorce, the couple remains legally married, and their marital status is not terminated.
Grounds for Filing Bed and board divorces are typically based on fault grounds, such as adultery, cruelty, or abandonment.
Property Division Property division can be addressed in a bed and board divorce, and the court may make decisions regarding property division, asset allocation, and debt responsibilities.
Child Custody and Support Child custody and support matters can be addressed in a bed and board divorce, and the court can issue orders related to child custody, visitation, and support.
Termination of Marital Status Bed and board divorces do not terminate the marital status, and the couple remains legally married.
Right to Remarry In a bed and board divorce, neither spouse is free to remarry since the marital status is still intact.
Legal Effect and Status A bed and board divorce is considered a legal separation and provides a legal framework for spouses to live separately, addressing various aspects of the separation.
Reconciliation and Conversion Bed and board divorces can be reversible, and there is a possibility of reconciliation. Additionally, a bed and board divorce can often be converted into a full divorce if desired by either party.
Legal Process and Requirements Bed and board divorces follow the legal process of filing for divorce, including the submission of divorce petitions, legal documentation, and court proceedings.
Jurisdiction and Availability Bed and board divorces are not available in all jurisdictions, and their availability may vary based on state laws. Consult with a family law attorney to understand the options in your jurisdiction.

Common Differences Between Bed and Board Divorce and Legal Separation

If it happens that your place of residence has both options available, it is necessary for you to explore the differences between divorce from bed and board and legal separation so that you can choose the top-matching solution for your situation. Here are the common ones:

Legal Status

Difference Between Bed and Board Divorce and Legal Separation

Legal separation grants you legal status in most states together with the underlying rights and obligations. It implies you will live and manage your issues separately but remain married officially. Meanwhile, bed and board divorce is legible and changes your status in certain jurisdictions only. But when it is applicable, bed and board divorce will grant you similar legal status to legal separation.

Grounds for Filing

For a legal separation, there is commonly no requirement of providing any legal reason or proof to file for it. You just usually decide that you need a break from each other with legal regulations to help you gain as much independence as possible. The choice is mutual and the process is amicable in most cases.

In order to get a bed and board divorce, you need to deliver a reason and proof for it that you need protection from your partner and your malfunctioning relationship. It covers adultery, cruelty, desertion, and other similar cases when there is marital misconduct on the part of any of the spouses.


When you are legally separated, you live independently from your former beloved but you remain married and cannot enter into a new marriage before you finalize the old one with divorce.

Limited divorce offers you similar status to your marriage and is still valid until you get your marriage termination. But compared to legal separation, it grants you a more official status with a bigger number of related regulations.

Court Involvement

When you get separated, it is usually a mutual decision. It implies that you discuss and agree on the main issues and regulations between you and your spouse solemnly, such as marital house rights, custody, property distribution, and more. You don’t need serious court involvement unless you wish for it. Only the paperwork should be approved officially.

With bed and board divorce the issues are different. The court’s active participation is required considering the reasons for partners parting. It is necessary that the official can guarantee the safety and rights protection for every family member in the end.


Both processes are intended to give partners independence and space to solve the issues between them. You will live apart and gain a legal framework to cope with any relationship hurdles so that you can either get divorced or choose reconciliation in the end. Since this is more of a transitive stage, your marital status won’t be different either during a legal separation or during bed and board divorce until you get your marriage termination.

If you have any hesitations on whether you should opt for bed and board divorce or legal separation, you should better discuss the issue with your lawyer first. You can ask anything from can you lose your equitable distribution rights in a divorce from bed and board or what your beneficial next step should be. A relevant specialist will help you act up to the local legislature and protect your rights and guarantee a happy future for you and your family without hurdles.


Difference Between Bed and Board Divorce and Legal Separation

Legal separation and bed and board divorce are options for you to go after if you need time and space to reconsider your priorities before divorce or reconciliation. Plus both choices can help you protect your rights and belongings during marital turbulence you may go through when your marriage is still not officially final. Yet, you should explore the variants closer before you choose finally. Mind that legal separation and bed and board divorce offer different legal frameworks and requirements for you to stay safe and process your relationships in a beneficial way.

Cooperate with the relevant specialist to make the right choices, commit efficiently to the process, and tailor situation-specific solutions to deal with your marriage in the best possible way.

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