A Fresh Start in the New Year: Successful Separating 101

Written by Jonathan Breeden

January 4, 2021

Are you ready to get a divorce? If you and your spouse want to end your marriage, it takes planning. It is not something you can wake up and decide to do that day. That is because an essential part of a no-fault divorce in North Carolina is a year-long separation.

Given how financially challenging it is to live apart for so long, our divorce lawyers highly recommend you take specific steps, including calling Breeden Law Office at (919) 661-4970 to schedule a consultation. We can explain how to fulfill the separation requirement and prepare to file for divorce under your specific circumstances.

We want to help you kick off 2021 successfully.

1. Plan To Live Separately

A fundamental step in pursuing a divorce is living separately. Under North Carolina law, a separation means living apart while intending to continue living apart for at least 365 consecutive days.

We recommend talking with your spouse about who will move out of the family home and how you will manage the expenses. But we do recognize that, for your safety, you may need to plan privately. We can help with that too.

Who Should Leave the Family Home?

A separation can be contentious when you and your spouse disagree on who should leave. If a family residence is involved, it might be an even more critical issue. We recommend talking with a divorce lawyer about the pros and cons of moving out.

What if Your Spouse Will Not Leave?

A problem can arise if your spouse refuses to leave the house and you, for some reason, cannot be the one to move out. You may own the home, or you might have renovated it to accommodate your or your child’s disability.

If something is standing in the way of beginning your separation, talk with a divorce attorney from Breeden Law Office as soon as possible. You have options, including obtaining a court order requiring your spouse to move out or stating you are legally separated despite living under the same roof.

2. Calculate Your Budget

When you decide to separate, the next step is planning on how to accomplish that financially. You should budget for what it will cost to live in your current home if your spouse leaves or what it will cost you to live on your own in a new home or rental. You want to be careful to live within your means during the separation and avoid accruing debt.

Most people live paycheck to paycheck in North Carolina, and it becomes problematic when you’re paying two rents, utilities, etc. It costs at least 40% more to live apart than together. You have to do the math to determine what each of you can afford.

A budget is crucial because you have to make sure you can qualify to rent an apartment or house, make the upfront deposit, and afford renter’s insurance on top of rent and utilities. If it is impossible to live on your own within your budget, consider other options, such as living with relatives or sharing a household with a close friend.

Consider a Separation Agreement

Separations can become complicated when you and your spouse cannot each afford a household. For example, you and your spouse might agree that you and the children will remain in the family home, but you cannot afford the mortgage, utilities, insurance, and other bills yourself.

When you or your spouse must continue to help the other financially during separation, it is often best to put the arrangement in writing. An experienced divorce lawyer can help you two navigate the financial accounts.

3. Start Looking for a Place to Live

There is a shortage of housing in North Carolina, particularly a shortage of rental properties. You are unlikely to find a rental property in your budget right away, which is why you should start looking once you figure out your budget. It will take some time before you or your spouse can move out.

Contact a North Carolina Divorce Attorney

Separating does not have to be complicated or contentious. You do not have to hire a lawyer or go to court to separate. But that changes if you two disagree on the separation, or it is a financial hardship to live apart.

When you are facing a challenging divorce process, we recommend reaching out right away. Breeden Law Office can offer advice on how to get started with a separation. Contact us through our online form or call (919) 661-4970 to set up a consultation.


Divorce In North Carolina: What You Need To Know

A book by Jonathan Breeden