moving out after divorce

Who Has to Leave the House in a Divorce in North Carolina?

Going through a divorce is a complicated process. Aside from determining child custody, one of the most contentious issues is deciding who will stay in the marital home. Who has to leave the house in divorce in North Carolina? These laws are often nuanced and depend on your specific situation. Let’s look at the questions that many couples ask in their divorce proceedings.

Does Legal Separation Play a Role?

In the state of North Carolina, a couple is legally separated once they start living apart. A separate residence must remain separate. That means they cannot live in separate rooms in the same house. 

North Carolina has a unique law known as divorce from bed and board. What does that mean? In these cases, this legal separation occurs when one spouse is at fault for the dissolution of the marriage. With that, the other spouse can request the court to order the other spouse to leave the marital home. 

Can You Remove Someone from the Marital Home?

Both spouses can only remove the other from the marital home with a court order. So, if there is no court order in place, they both have the equal right to remain in the house throughout the separation period. 

But remember, living together is not considered a separate residence. North Carolina requires both spouses to live separately for one year. If the spouses move in together, that clock will be reset for the separation period. 

There are cases when one spouse must vacate the home. For example, if there are signs of domestic violence, then the courts can issue a Domestic Violence Protective Order. In turn, the abusive spouse will need to leave the house. 

Can You Outline Terms in a Separation Agreement?

When the couple decides to separate, their legal representatives often draft an agreement. In the separation agreement, both parties can stipulate who will remain in the home. This agreement is legally binding. If one spouse refuses to abide by the terms, the other can take them to court and enforce it. 

What Happens If a Spouse Refuses to Leave?

Sometimes, there are cases when one spouse does not want to cooperate. In these scenarios, if an individual refuses to leave the marital home, then there are options. The spouse can try to negotiate with the other to reach an agreement. Often, couples work with a mediator to settle their issues. 

Once again, if that is not successful, the courts may have to step in and decide who will stay in the home. Usually, it is in both couples’ best interests to handle these matters on their own or through a legal representative. When the courts have to make decisions, it can lead to terms that are not favorable for either side. 

Reach Out to Learn More About Your Legal Rights

So, who has to leave the house in a divorce in North Carolina? That answer will depend on your specific circumstances surrounding the separation. Often, these issues can be avoided with a legally binding separation agreement. However, sometimes, disagreements will occur, and it requires the help of an experienced family law lawyer in North Carolina.

Whether you have questions about this issue or need assistance with something else, contact the legal team at 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.