Can I Date While Separated in North Carolina?

4-1Can I Date While Separated in North Carolina?

You and your spouse have decided to end your marriage. Now, you are in the middle of a divorce, and you are wondering whether you can start dating again. This is a common question, and the answer is not always clear. It is helpful to understand the divorce process in North Carolina and how it will impact your social life. An experienced divorce attorney will guide you through the process to make it easier and less stressful.


Separation Before Divorce

North Carolina is one of the unique states that requires couples to live apart for a period of at least a year before they can get a divorce. This separation period is a required prerequisite for getting a no-fault divorce. Couples must live apart and not under the same roof. If they do get back together, even for a short period of time, they would need to start the year-long separation again. When beginning the separation period, couples must believe that the marriage is no longer viable and that they are headed toward divorce.


Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “How long does getting a divorce take?”


What is Marital Misconduct?

When a couple is married, they may get into trouble if they do anything that is perceived as marital misconduct. Marital misconduct is conduct that is considered to erode the marriage. One of the most common forms of marital misconduct is adultery, also called illicit sexual behavior. However, marital misconduct must have taken place during the marriage and before the date of separation. Even then, misconduct only comes into play for the issue of spousal support, which is also called alimony. If a spouse is guilty of adultery during the marriage, it could impact the amount of alimony and even whether alimony will be awarded.a-toast-1317005-scaled There are other forms of marital misconduct, such as cruel treatment, reckless spending, alcohol or drug abuse, involuntary separation, and others.


Dating While Separated

There are no laws in place that prohibit you from dating while you are separated. While you are free to date as you please, it is helpful to keep in mind that it could be problematic if you already participated in marital misconduct. If you were already having an affair during your marriage, if you continued to date the person during your separation, it could be used as proof that you did, indeed, commit adultery. You will want to be careful about your relationships during the separation period. It is prudent to be as private as possible about your dating until your divorce is finalized. Until then, refrain from posting about your dates online and discussing your new relationships with others.


If you are going through a divorce, you may need to seek advice from an experienced attorney. Call us today at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, at (704) 370-2828 to discuss your case.





You Cannot Reason with the Unreasonable. The family law practice group at Arnold & Smith, PLLC includes two Board-Certified Family Law specialists and one Child Welfare Law specialist, as well as several attorneys with many years of family law experience that are committed to providing a powerful voice to individuals facing the often-tumultuous issues in this area of law. The range of issues our family law clients may be facing include pre- and post-nuptial agreements; separation agreements; post-separation support; child support (both temporary and permanent); absolute divorce; divorce from bed and board; military divorce; equitable distribution of assets; child custody (both temporary and permanent); retirement benefits and divorce; alimony and spousal support; adoption; and emancipation. Because this area of the law is usually emotionally charged and complicated, the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC act with the utmost dedication to ensure that each client understands his or her options, and then act to achieve the best result possible for that client’s particular situation.




Separation and Divorce | North Carolina Judicial Branch (

marital misconduct | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute (


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