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Do I Need to Be Legally Separated to Divorce in North Carolina?

If your marriage is headed toward divorce, you may be wondering, “Do I need to be legally separated to get divorced in North Carolina?” Not all states have legal separations and each state handles the issue differently, so this is indeed, a good question for you to ask.

In North Carolina, you are not required to obtain a legal separation agreement to be considered “legally separated” from your husband or wife. For the family courts to consider you legally separated from your spouse, all you have to do is be living in different households, and at least one of you must have the intention of splitting permanently.

The court does not consider you legally separated if:

  • You have ended your relationship with your spouse, but you still live together in the same home.
  • You live in separate homes, but you do not have the intention of being permanently separated; for example, your spouse has moved to someplace like LA or New York for several months for work purposes.

Can I Get a Separation Agreement?

In North Carolina, spouses are not eligible for what’s called an “absolute divorce” until after they have been separated (as explained above) for one year and one day. If you have decided to divorce, you’ll need to live in different homes for at least the next year. If you are interested in getting a separation agreement, you can ask for one, though it’s not legally required to obtain a divorce in North Carolina.

For some couples, separation agreements come in very handy. Why? Because, they are legally-binding contracts between the spouses that sort out issues, such as child custody, who will pay the mortgage and auto loans, etc. Very similar to divorce settlement agreements, separation agreements include details about child custody, property and debt division, and spousal support (also known as alimony).

If you believe a separation agreement would be in your best interests, and you and your spouse can agree on its terms, you can draft your agreement without involving the court.

For all of your divorce and family law needs in North Carolina, contact Krusch Law, PLLC .