Rock And A Hard Place


I have been married for 15 years and have two children. We have been living in separate bedrooms for about 1 year now. For years I have asked her to get a job but she refuses to try to find a job. As the sole financial provider I have continued all of my responsibilities in the house. I am at the point where I want to start the separation process as my marital needs are not being met which is a part of my question. Is there any laws or terms that refer to when a spouse voluntarily leaves the bedroom and discontinues marital obligations while still benefiting from the duties I provide as a husband? In plain terms… Is it against the law for a spouse to withhold phyical relations and move into a separate bedroom? Do I have any grounds for divorce? She has no intent to reconcile or initiate a legal separation or divorce and is content to live in this situation forever. Is that considered abuse? I know that I will have to continue to be the provider for both her and my children and intend to do so. However, by her not working for over 13 years and not trying or willing to find a job as I have asked, will I have to pay alimony over a long period of time? Will the courts see her actions to move out of the bedroom and withhold phyical contact as her desire to end the marriage and in turn require that she find a job to finance her desire for independence? Again I know that there may be a period of alimony but my expectation is that since she is the one who has acted in a way to be separated that she will be responsible at some point for herself financially along with child support.

Thank you.


Well, you could potentially have a claim for a divorce from bed and board on the basis of her withholding sex from you for a long period of time (assuming it is a very long period). However, I doubt it would be successful. You can certainly try it though, since there is a small chance it would work. You should look at factors in DBB and see if she has committed any of the marital faults against you. Indignities may be the best argument for withholding sex, but I doubt it will pass muster.

She is likely to get alimony since she hasn’t worked in 13 years. I can never predict how a judge will rule on a case, but a rule of thumb in NC is that alimony often will last half the length of the marriage. It wouldn’t be surprising therefore, if you have to pay for up to 7 years of alimony.