Is Legal Separation Required in North Carolina?


You hear a lot about legal separation in NC. Most of what you hear, however, is incorrect. You will not find a law entitled "legal separation" in North Carolina, and you cannot file for legal separation in NC. You can file for Divorce from Bed and Board (which is essentially a fault based legal separation - but they are rarely granted). The best that you can do, is to enter into a separation agreement and indicate your date of separation within the agreement to memorialize the date of separation, but even this step is unnecessary. The courts will not ask for proof of your separation. Your testimony or written word is all that is required to prove that you separated on the date that you claim you did.

What you must have in North Carolina to qualify for divorce is a physical separation of one year and a day. This means that you must live in separate homes for at least one year and a day to qualify for divorce. Many people may call this legal separation, but the law does not make this distinction. If you live in the same home but in different rooms this will not count as the physical separation that is necessary for divorce in NC. You,must be physically separated. Please feel free to contact me if you have additional questions about separating in North Carolina.

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