Getting Separated in North Carolina

1-1024x1024Getting Separated in North Carolina

Nobody gets married with the intention of getting divorced. Sometimes, however, a marriage just does not work out, and the best thing for both parties is to separate. While divorce is a way to end a marriage, a couple may choose to separate instead. A separation may allow you to resolve settlement issues as you prepare to end your union. There are a few things to know about separation in North Carolina. A knowledgeable Charlotte divorce attorney will help you through the process.



In North Carolina, a married couple must live apart for a period of at least one year before they can get a divorce. It is important to document the date that you separate. Living apart means that both parties must have their own residences. You cannot “separate” and still live under the same roof. When you divorce, you will need to prove that you and your spouse actually lived apart for a full year. Parties must separate with the intent of staying apart.


Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “Do I have to be living separately to meet with a lawyer about divorce?”


Divorce from Bed and Board

In North Carolina, legal separation is called divorce from bed and board. A legal separation is much like divorce except it does not end the marriage. Sometimes a couple may prefer to take care of all the details of uncoupling without actually getting divorced yet. The couple will go through the distribution of assets and debts and child custody and visitation. A family court will review the details of the separation and make a final order. This step can make absolute divorce easier and faster.


Separation Agreement

A separation agreement is a document that provides settlement details. It outlines how both parties will handle the various matters related to the separation. It may include such things as which spouse will live in the home, how they will pay for bills, how they will handle their bank accounts and other financial issues,love-1317028 where the children will reside, payment of child support, and payment of spousal support, among others. It is beneficial to include as much detail as possible in a separation agreement.


Is a Separation Agreement Necessary?

A separation agreement is not required in order to be separated in North Carolina. A separation agreement is a precursor to divorce, but it is necessary to have one. A separation agreement is generally in place until the divorce is finalized, at which time the divorce order takes effect. In some cases, you can incorporate a separation agreement into a divorce. This will help to make divorce more harmonious since you and your spouse have already resolved the major divorce settlement matters. A knowledgeable family law attorney will guide the process and help you resolve disputes as you create a fair separation agreement.


If you and your spouse decide to divorce, you must separate before you can move forward. You will want to discuss the details of the separation and divorce with a qualified divorce lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us today at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, at (704) 370-2828 to schedule a consultation.






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.




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