separated couple

Do You Have to be Separated for a Year to Get a Divorce in NC?

Each state sets its own rules regarding separation and divorce for couples, and North Carolina is no different. Do you have to be separated for a year to get a divorce in NC? If you are a recently separated couple, you may have to wait until you can finalize the divorce. Here are all the facts you need to know about the divorce process in the state. 

Divorce Laws in North Carolina

In North Carolina, there are two types of divorces: absolute divorce and divorce of bed and board. With an absolute divorce, it will officially end the divorce, and both parties are free to remarry or live separate lives. 

On the other hand, a divorce of bed and board is a little different. This type is a form of separation but with a few stipulations. It does not end the marriage but provides specific protections for the spouses. With a divorce from bed and board, the couple is still married but separated. 

Is There a Separation Requirement?

In the state of North Carolina, there is a requirement for the couple to live apart for one year. During this time, they must have separate residences. For example, if one spouse moves into a separate bedroom in the same house, that is not considered “living separately.” Additionally, one party must intend to continue living separately and apart from the other person permanently. 

This requirement shows the courts that there is a call to end the marital relationship. During this time, couples may want to reflect on their decision to divorce. If they cannot repair the relationship, they can continue the legal proceedings. 

Do You Need a Separation Agreement?

A separation agreement is a contract between spouses. This document will address property division, alimony, child custody, and child support. While it’s not required to get a divorce, it can simplify the process by resolving these issues before heading to court. 

However, for a separation agreement to be valid, it must be in writing and signed by both parties. If you want to create a separation agreement, you may want to consult with a lawyer to review the agreement to ensure it meets the state’s legal standards.

Does Separation Impact Property Division and Child Custody?

In North Carolina, property acquired during the marriage is considered marital property. When it comes time for a divorce, this property is equitably divided. 

A separation agreement can specify how the property will be divided, which can avoid potential disputes. Along with that, child custody and support can also be outlined in the agreement. Taking a few steps early in the process can provide a stable environment for the children and reduce conflicts with the other spouse. 

We’re Here to Answer Your Questions About Separation and Divorce

Do you have to be separated for a year to get a divorce in NC? Yes, there is a one-year separation period for divorce in North Carolina. Under this law, the state wants to give couples plenty of time to consider their decision to end the marriage. If these parties cannot reconcile, then they can proceed with the divorce. 

If you are considering separating or are ready to proceed forward with a divorce in North Carolina, contact Stephen E. Robertson Law Office here to help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation for your case. You can set up an appointment by calling 336-370-6760 today.