North Carolina Separation FAQ

Written by Jonathan Breeden

January 11, 2019

Like many states, North Carolina has enacted certain prerequisites that parties to a divorce must meet before they can officially file for divorce. Two key requirements involve where each spouse lives in the months leading up to initiating the divorce action. North Carolina law states that at least one spouse must reside within the state for at least six months. The second condition is that the spouses must physically separate for a certain period of time before filing. It’s this provision that raises countless questions for couples as they anticipate going through a divorce.

At Breeden Law Office, we receive numerous questions from clients regarding all aspects of the divorce process. North Carolina separation lawyer Jonathan Breeden has the knowledge and experience necessary to provide meaningful, informative answers. He has guided clients through all stages of the process, and he’s prepared to help you understand the answers to separation FAQ.

To schedule a case consultation, contact us today at (919) 661-4970.

FAQs About Separation in North Carolina

When you and your spouse are considering separating, you likely have several questions running through your mind, including:

What’s the requirement for separation in North Carolina?

North Carolina law states that each party hoping to divorce must live separate and apart for a minimum of one year before either can file the paperwork to officially end their marriage. It’s not sufficient for each of you to take up different areas of the same house.One person must actually move to a new address.

How do I make the separation official?

The best strategy is to have one spouse sign a lease, change their address, and sign up to pay utilities at their new residence. You want to show that you or your spouse established a home outside the marital home. Any gray areas with separation can disrupt the one-year prerequisite.

Are there any exceptions to the separation requirement?

No, there are no exceptions to North Carolina’s divorce statute that allow you to avoid the one-year separation rule.

How do we handle bills for separate households?

State law requires both parents to provide for children, regardless of where they live and the stage of divorce proceedings. Therefore, the parties to a divorce must both provide financial support to children during the year of separation.

Regarding other bills strictly limited to spouses, North Carolina does provide for spousal support during the post-separation period. This is a temporary form of alimony that may apply up to filing divorce and during the proceedings. If you’re in the position to receive it, you have the right to petition for post-separation support. However, you must prove that you’re entitled to alimony because of a financial disparity between you and your higher-earning spouse.

Can we enter an agreement for our separation arrangement?

It’s a wise decision to consider a separation agreement for the period before you file for divorce. Through such an arrangement, you can specify the terms of your separation and how you will resolve such divorce-related issues as child custody, support, and alimony. A separation agreement sets the stage for the divorce, so there could only be a few issues to dispute, or no issues if the separation agreement covers all the issues, by the time you initiate divorce proceedings.

Contact an NC Divorce Lawyer for Help

While these answers to general questions may be useful, you probably have additional questions about separation that pertain to your personal situation. Attorney Jonathan Breeden can provide you with information relevant to your needs after conducting a consultation, so please call (919) 661-4970 to schedule an appointment today. You can also reach out via our online form.


Divorce In North Carolina: What You Need To Know

A book by Jonathan Breeden