A “regular divorce” or absolute divorce can only be filed after one year one day separation. This is the “final divorce”.
Divorce from Bed & Board is normally filed by the spouse that remains in the marital home. There are several reasons for filing this and it usually puts “fault” on the other spouse. I’ve never quite understood this since NC is a no fault state…
It is normally filed with ED, child custody, or alimony and is generally used as a formality. Normally it’s just stating that the spouses no longer have any financial or marital obligations to the other. The marital home is the property of one spouse and the other is no longer allowed without that spouse’s permission or invitation. It does not have to be filed. My husband’s attorney filed this along with the ED, custody and support agreement so that it would be “official” that his ex had left the marital home and that they were living separately. The Divorce from Bed & Board can be used to remove one spouse from the marital home but it does normally take a while to have this heard and it’s normally easier for one spouse to just leave. A separation agreement does not have to be “filed”. You do not have to have a separation agreement, but it does make things easier when it comes time to file for absolute divorce because with the agreement, normally, everything is already divided and settled when the required time is up.
You should at least consult an attorney and have an agreement drawn up if one of you have left the marital home.