North Carolina’s divorce and separation laws are very different from most other states. While many states enable a couple to seek a legal separation and remain separated for extended periods, separation works differently in the state, which does not formally recognize “legal separation” as it is known in other states. It’s possible for a couple to seek a separation order if they no longer wish to live together, and this agreement will include terms and conditions typically seen in a standard divorce order.
In states that allow long-term legal separation, the couple has the option of remaining separated as long as they wish, or they may eventually rescind the order to return to married life or transfer the separation order into a divorce decree. A separated couple cannot cohabitate, and at least one of the spouses must intend for their separation to be permanent. Separation is a requirement for divorce as state law dictates the couple must live separately for one year and one day before they can secure an absolute divorce. A separation order is a formal agreement that outlines the terms and conditions of their separation that can later be implemented into their divorce decree.
A separation agreement is a formal contract that covers many of the same issues that a divorce order entails. If you and your spouse intend to file for separation before divorce, your separation agreement provides a legal framework that makes rights, responsibilities, and conditions as clear as possible. If you later follow through with your divorce, your separation agreement’s terms can become the foundation of your divorce order.
A properly constructed separation agreement in Monroe is likely to include:
Lehnhardt Price Family Law has years of experience helping Monroe area clients with a wide range of family court cases. If you and your spouse are unsure whether your marriage can or should continue, separation can provide the time and space needed to make more confident decisions. A separation order is a contract that accompanies your separation, outlining the financial responsibilities for both you and your spouse that can later translate into your divorce order.
North Carolina law defines a separation as married spouses who establish separate living conditions, and at least one of the spouses intends this to be a permanent arrangement. Separated spouses cannot continue living together, and spouses who live separately temporarily are not considered legally separated. While a separation requires covering most of the same issues that a divorce would entail, it does not formally end the marriage. Divorce, on the other hand, ends the marriage contract, allowing each spouse to remarry if they wish.
While separation can effectively serve as an alternative to divorce and does not involve the finality of legally ending a marriage, the process still requires covering most, if not all, of the issues the couple would need to address in a divorce. If you and your spouse believe that separation would be an effective alternative to legally ending your marriage, you must prepare for lengthy proceedings that would take just as long as an actual divorce. Remember that a one-year legal separation is a prerequisite for absolute divorce in North Carolina.
North Carolina law requires spouses to remain separated for one year and one day before they can finalize a divorce. If the couple decides to reconcile and return to married life together, they may do so by formally requesting the court to withdraw the separation order. Otherwise, the separation will become a formal divorce at the end of the separation period. If you have questions about how this process works or the specific details of your separation order, it’s important to consult a Monroe separation attorney as soon as possible.
Technically, North Carolina family law does not actually recognize “legal separation” as an alternative for divorce as it is applied in other states where couples can remain legally separated for extended periods of time. In the state, a legal separation precedes an absolute divorce. However, if a couple wishes to be legally separated, they can accomplish this with a formal separation order, which will include terms and conditions that cover virtually everything that a divorce order would entail, and after one year and one day, the separated couple could translate their separation order into a divorce order.
The team at Lehnhardt Price Family Law specializes in resolving complex family law cases, including separation agreements that can later be used to streamline divorce proceedings. Whatever your reasons for seeking separation may be, we can provide the responsive legal counsel you need to approach the situation with confidence and peace of mind. Contact us today and schedule your consultation with a Monroe separation attorney to learn more about the legal services we provide.