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What Is Legal Separation in The State of North Carolina?

Ferguson Hayes Hawkins, PLLC Jan. 25, 2017

In the state of North Carolina, couples must be separated for at least one year and a day before they can qualify for an absolute divorce. When one or both spouses move into a different residence and decide that they want to live separately permanently, that is when the legal separation will begin. In the state of North Carolina, you and your spouse do not have to create a separation agreement. You also do not have to worry about filing any documents or papers. It is also important to note that a legal separation is not created by a separation agreement.

Concord divorce lawyers constantly remind people that they will not be considered legally separated if they are living in the same residence with their spouse. However, a couple can live in the same residence and be legally separated if the home has been divided into two separate, unconnected units. The separate part of the home must have its own entrance, bathroom and kitchen.

Many couples who are separated will end up filing for divorce in NC. However, others will end up reconciling. Reconciliation occurs when the two parties decide to move back in together. It is important to note that just because a couple spends time together does not mean that they have reconciled. Furthermore, even if a couple has sexual intercourse during the time that they are separated, it does not mean that they have reconciled.

Although it is not required, many couples decide to sign a property settlement and/or separation agreement before they decide to separate. Anything that a couple agrees to can be included in the settlement, but it must not go against public policy. Child custody, alimony and child support are some of the things that are discussed in a separating agreement.

If you are thinking about legal separation, then you should make sure that you read the contracts carefully. You may also want to have one of the Concord divorce lawyers review your contract. Keep in mind that a court can decide on child support, temporary child custody, property division and division on debt at the time of a separation.

Furthermore, if you are interested in filing for divorce in NC, it is important to remember that you cannot file until one year and a day after the separation.