How to File for Legal Separation in North Carolina

By Beverly Bird

Legal separation is one of those terms that can mean different things, depending on where you live. Some states don't recognize it at all – including North Carolina. The state doesn't recognize a judicial process resulting in a separation decree. Separation is still a pivotal aspect of the state's divorce laws, however. You can't file for it, but you generally cannot get divorced without it.

Separation as Grounds

North Carolina's only divorce grounds include separation for a full year, or incurable insanity on the part of your spouse. For obvious reasons, most divorces are granted based on the couple's separation. You don't have to file anything with the court to begin or document your separation – you and your spouse must simply move into separate households. After a year, you can file for divorce. If your spouse doesn't contest your divorce by saying that you really haven't been separated that long, your word for it is good enough for the court.

Separation Agreements

You can enter into a separation agreement with your spouse while you wait out the year, but it's not required. In North Carolina, the court can simply terminate your marriage without addressing issues such as property, support or custody. If you want to enter into an agreement, nothing stops you, but if you do, this doesn't mean you're legally separated. It just means you've paved the way for an uncontested divorce and you won't have to file separate pleadings so the court can rule on issues of property or your children. Your separation agreement acts as an enforceable legal contract, so if you don't ultimately divorce and incorporate the terms into a decree, you can still enforce them in civil court.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Laws on How to Prove I Am Legally Separated in North Carolina

References

Related articles

How to File for Divorce After You Forgive Adultery

Fault-based divorce grounds can present a minefield of legal rules that may be difficult to navigate. Adultery is a fault-based ground, but if you forgive or condone it, some states will no longer allow you to use it as the basis for your divorce. This doesn't mean you have to stay married, however.

Do I Have to Be Separated Before a Divorce If My Husband Cheated in North Carolina?

North Carolina is one of the easiest states in which to get a divorce, but at the same time, some of its statutes can complicate the divorce process. Unlike most states, you and your spouse don't have to resolve all issues to end your marriage, but you must live separate and apart from each other for at least a year to get a traditional divorce. If your spouse is guilty of marital misconduct such as adultery, however, North Carolina offers an alternative to the one-year waiting period.

Legal Separation in West Virginia

West Virginia is fairly accommodating if you're looking for a legal way to separate from your spouse. The state's legislature provides three means of doing so. The option you choose may depend on how amicable your separation is and whether you eventually intend to divorce.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

The Termination of Marriage & a Legal Separation in Oklahoma

Divorce is a significant step and sometimes spouses like to take it slowly. Not all states recognize legal separation, ...

North Carolina Law for Marriage Separation

Divorcing in North Carolina can be very easy or very confusing, but the confusion arises mostly if you try to compare ...

Arkansas Laws for Separation

Marital separation can be particularly complicated in Arkansas because the state recognizes two types of marriages and ...

North Carolina Divorce a Year After Separating or Signing a Separation Agreement

North Carolina is somewhat unique among states in two respects: spouses can divorce without first resolving issues of ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED