How to File for Separation in NC

Unlike some states, North Carolina doesn’t require you to file for separation. Instead, you are considered legally separated if you’ve lived in different homes for at least a year and a day, and if at least one of you envisions a permanent separation.

How to file for separation in NC

While some states require a formal filing for separation, North Carolina does not.

To be considered separated, all you need to do is live in a different home from your spouse. Either you or your spouse needs to expect that the separation will be permanent.

A separation may give spouses time to understand whether to proceed with divorce or to attempt reconciliation.

Keep in mind that if you have ended your relationship but still live in the same home, you are not considered legally separated.

You do need to file for divorce in North Carolina. In order to be eligible for divorce, you need to be legally separated for one year and a day.

Legal separation requirements vary between states

When considering legal separation, make sure you are consulting information specific to the state you and your spouse live in.

Separation requirements can vary widely between states.

For example:

  • In Georgia, parties can be legally separated while living in the same home. Moving into another room in the same home is enough.
  • In Wisconsin, one spouse files for separation with the circuit court.
  • In Texas, legal separations are not recognized.
  • In California, a Petition for Legal Separation is filed with family law courts.

When to consider a separation agreement

A separation agreement isn’t required, but can be helpful in managing the legal issues as your marriage comes to a close during the legal separation period.

Separation and Property Settlement Agreements can be entered into before filing for divorce and during a separation period and cover legal issues like child custody and support, alimony, and property division.

Separation Agreements are private and take less time and money than going to court.

Items resolved in a separation agreement typically include:

  • Who is responsible for which bills
  • Who will stay at home and who will move
  • Where the kids will live
  • Property division
  • Temporary spousal support
  • Child custody
  • Child support

Separation Agreements should be prepared by an attorney to protect your rights and avoid future litigation over vague or unenforceable provisions.

Talk to the law firm of Blackwell & Edwards if you’re in need of a separation agreement.