Exploring The Basics Of Separation And Divorce In North Carolina

Law Articles

Once you've gotten through the emotional upheaval of separating from your spouse, it's time to start thinking about how to handle the separation and divorce proceedings. While many states don't require a formal separation, you'll need to be separated for at least a year before filing a no-fault divorce in the state of North Carolina. Here's a look at what you need to know to document that separation and start the countdown on that one-year filing window.

What Constitutes Legal Separation?

In the state of North Carolina, a married couple is considered legally separated as soon as they are living apart with no intention of reconciliation. If your spouse has left for a hotel or other temporary arrangements while you work things out or even think things through, that's not separation. However, if you've determined that you aren't going to try to restore the marriage and you've asked your spouse to move out permanently, you would be considered legally separated in the eyes of the courts.

How Do You Document A Legal Separation?

A legal separation in North Carolina requires documentation of the date when you actually separated. That can be as simple as a signed lease agreement for an apartment or as detailed as a comprehensive separation agreement. For couples with no children, a lease agreement is typically sufficient. However, if you have children, you may find that it's in your best interest to document the separation with a signed separation agreement. The separation agreement will detail the date when you decided to live separately, and that date will be the one that the courts use for determining your divorce filing date.

How Do You Create A Separation Agreement?

Separation agreements are generally easy to generate. While there are many templates available online and through various resources, sometimes it's best to pay a local attorney to create one for you. This ensures that the agreement is comprehensive and legally enforceable.

If you decide to generate one on your own, make sure that it identifies both parties by name, clearly defines the date when the separation began and then details all of the expectations and requirements of the divorce. For example, define the child visitation and communication schedule, support, and custody as well as any property division and spousal support.

Why Create The Separation Agreement?

In the state of North Carolina, divorces are handled separately from child custody, visitation, support, and similar issues. The dissolution of the marriage is considered a legal issue of its own. For that reason, if you can define those things in the separation agreement, you can avoid having to address them in court. You can simply submit the separation agreement along with your divorce filing to have the agreement included as part of your decree.

Do You Always Have To Wait A Year To File?

The separation requirement for divorce filing is limited to no-fault divorces. If you are filing simply based on irreconcilable differences or an irretrievably broken marriage, you're bound by the one-year waiting period. However, if you have grounds to file an at-fault divorce, such as if your spouse has threatened you, abused you, or abandoned you, the state allows you to file without a waiting period. Things like adultery and incurable insanity also qualify under the fault-based filings. Under a fault-based divorce, you file immediately for a divorce from bed and board. This grants you a court-ordered separation so that your spouse is forced to live separately from you. Then, you'll be given a time period during which you can file for the legal divorce.

As you can see, there are many things to consider when you're filing for divorce from your spouse in North Carolina. While the divorce laws and the separation guidelines are pretty clear, it's often best to retain the services of an attorney before you proceed to tell your spouse that you want a divorce. The attorney will help you to ensure that you are legally protected from any potential issues before you separate and can help you navigate the court process if it is unclear to you. Check out a site like http://gomezmaylaw.com/ to get in touch with an attorney.


7 November 2016

Car Accident Clues

It can be hard to know what to do to protect yourself legally in the immediate aftermath of a car accident. You’re liable to be disoriented or in shock, you may be injured, and you’re surely worried about your passenger or the other driver. At least, that’s how I felt. The thing is, the things you say and do in the immediate aftermath of an accident may affect a legal case later. Depending on who’s at fault and what the laws are in your state, you may want to sue the other driver for damages, or you may find yourself being sued. My blog is designed to give you tips for a car accident lawsuit, no matter which side you find yourself on.