An integral aspect of divorcing in North Carolina is going through a period of separation. To obtain a no-fault divorce in the state, you and your spouse must live separately for at least one year, and one of you must have the intent to remain separate and apart the whole time.
This sounds simple, but separations can become complicated quickly. If you have any questions regarding separation in North Carolina, or you wish to draft a formal agreement regarding your separation, contact legal separation lawyer Jonathan Breeden. He is here to explain your rights and options when it comes to separation, and what North Carolina divorce law may apply to your case.
To schedule a case consultation, contact Breeden Law Office at (919) 661-4970 today.
Is there a state law for at-fault separations in North Carolina?
You are separated in North Carolina if you and your spouse intentionally live apart from each other, and at least one of you does not intend to reconcile.
The intention to never reconcile does not have to be mutual the entire time. In most cases, one of you has moved out of your shared home and established another residence. You may have remained in the family home with your children while your husband or wife moved into another apartment.
On the other hand, you may have decided to move out. No matter how the situation unfolded, you are both now responsible for separate homes.
Separation does not have to be a legal process. You or your spouse may simply move out of your shared home. You do not need to file for legal separation. Once you have been fully separated for at least one year and one day, then you qualify for an absolute divorce under North Carolina law.
That being said, you may wish to negotiate a formal separation agreement. A separation agreement enables you and your spouse to determine who handles what financial obligations, including whether alimony will be paid. This may be essential if you stay in the family home and cannot afford to maintain it yourself.
A separation agreement can outline how you divide marital property. It can also outline a temporary child support and child custody schedule. Overall, this agreement can help you settle many issues before going to divorce court.
For a separation agreement to be upheld in court, it needs to be in writing and notarized. An oral separation agreement will not be enforced in court.
If you and your spouse have separated or you intend to, call a separation lawyer to learn more about separation agreements. Negotiating an agreement with your husband or wife can smooth out the process and make for a more efficient divorce.
If you cannot leave your home for some reason, yet your spouse refuses to move out, then contact an attorney about divorce from bed and board. This is not an absolute divorce. You remain legally married and neither of you can re-marry.
However, if you obtain a divorce from bed and board, the court orders that you and your spouse are legally separated despite living in the same residence. The court can also order your spouse to leave your shared home.
To obtain divorce from bed and board, you must show you have been injured by your spouse in some way. It is a fault-based legal process. You must be able to show your spouse abandoned the family, turned you out of the house, treated your cruelly, made your life intolerable or overly burdensome, is addicted to drugs or alcohol, or committed adultery.
When you are interested in a separation or divorce, yet your spouse is not cooperative, call an attorney right away. A contentious relationship may require a specific strategy, such as you moving out of the family home.
If you and your spouse reconcile, then your period of separation ends. If you once again decide to divorce, then you must start your required one-year separation over. You cannot add two distinct separation periods together to fulfill the one-year requirement. You must be continuously separated for 12 months before you may be granted a divorce.
Whether you are thinking of separating or you have already moved out of the family home, you may have questions. You may wonder what your rights are during this time, particularly in regard to spousal support, child support, and custody. You may want to know what happens next if you two decide to divorce.
Attorney Jonathan Breeden is here to answer all of your questions. He has years of experience handling North Carolina separations and divorces. He will help you through this difficult process with compassion, and he will fight on your behalf throughout the divorce process.
Call Breeden Law Office today:Call (919) 661-4970