The clock starts on the date the spouses move to separate residences. A legal separation order may be sought in a difficult divorce if a spouse refuses to cooperate. For example, if one spouse refuses to agree to move out, the other spouse may petition the court for a legal separation, known as a divorce from bed and board. This is a court-ordered legal separation and is a step toward divorce.
Even if you are legally separated from your spouse, you are not yet free to remarry. North Carolina is a no-fault divorce state. This means that you do not need to prove the other spouse was at fault in order to obtain an absolute divorce.
What Are The Grounds For Divorce In North Carolina?
Obtaining a legal separation, or divorce from bed and board, is a different matter. You must establish fault. A court may grant a legal separation if you are able to establish one or more of the following fault-based grounds:. To file for a divorce from bed and board, one of the spouses must have been a North Carolina resident for at least six months prior to bringing the action. In contrast to obtaining an absolute divorce, you do not need to be physically separated for at least one year before you file the action.
Instead, it can be filed right away. If you are seeking a legal separation, you should contact a Raleigh separation attorney right away. At Charles R.
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Keep in mind: Reconciliation is not a defense to a legal separation action. If the parties reconcile while a divorce from bed and board is pending, steps must be taken to dismiss the action. Here are the answers to some common questions about legal separation in North Carolina. Contact Charles R. No, you do not need to be legally separated to obtain a North Carolina divorce.
If you live in separate areas of the same house, this does not satisfy the requirement. If you live in separate houses but maintain the appearance of a relationship, this will not satisfy the requirement either. Additionally, if you reconcile with your spouse, the separation period ends. Isolated sexual intercourse with your spouse is not considered reconciliation. However, if you move in together, go out in public together and have regular sexual intercourse, it would likely be considered reconciliation.
First, a legal separation does not end your marriage. You cannot remarry if you are legally separated but not divorced.
Can I Make My Spouse Pay My Attorney’s Fees in Our Divorce?
A legal separation allows you to remain married but live separately until either you reconcile or file for divorce. Second, fault plays a different role.
In North Carolina, neither spouse needs to be held at fault for a couple to get divorced. To obtain a legal separation, however, the person who files must provide information establishing that his or her spouse was at fault. Third, you can file for a legal separation as soon as you want, whereas for a no-fault divorce the parties must have been physically separated for at least a year. You or your spouse must be a resident of the state to file for separation in North Carolina.
An experienced lawyer can help you do this. In court, you and your attorney will present your case, and the court will decide whether to grant a legal separation. Then you may obtain separate orders regarding matters such as alimony, child support, custody and visitation. Some of these may involve further legal action in addition to the separation. For example, in the case of domestic violence cruel or barbarous treatment , you may need to file a specific domestic violence action and obtain a restraining order for your own protection.
Those at risk of being a victim of domestic violence should get this court order at once. If your spouse has filed for legal separation from you, but you believe you were not at fault, you should consult with an experienced lawyer. An attorney can help you defend against false accusations.
In these cases, you should not be penalized. The agreement will spell out legal and physical custody, visitation, child support and how vacation times will be shared between the parents. The terms of that agreement must serve the best interests of the children above all and can later be modified if there is proof that the current agreement does not do so.
The welfare of children is the guiding factor in North Carolina custody agreements. You can have a relationship with another person while you are separated and waiting on your divorce to be final.
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But there are practical and legal considerations to keep in mind. After becoming separated and deciding on a divorce, you and your spouse may have entered into negotiations about a separation agreement. However, your spouse could become bitter if they learn that you have already started another relationship before the divorce decree is entered.
HOW WILL A DIVORCE ATTORNEY AT LAWSMITH HELP YOU?
The unsuspecting party can cause himself or herself anguish and increased legal costs trying to unravel the tangles of a poorly-handled divorce. Are there other pitfalls? If you are seeking an absolute divorce, you may either hire an attorney or proceed without an attorney. Additionally, you will need to pay a filing fee, ensure your spouse is properly served under the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure, and appear in court.
It is imperative that you fully understand North Carolina laws before you attempt to file for divorce on your own.
The Uncontested Divorce Process In North Carolina
Montgomery Family Law has assisted many clients who have attempted to follow the Do-It-Yourself packets only to find they have wasted their time and resources, are frustrated, and still married. One of the most important steps in obtaining an absolute divorce is that you must achieve proper service on your spouse. That means that you need serve him or her by sheriff, by acceptance, or by designated delivery at his or her place of usual abode or where he or she usually lives.
If your spouse lives outside of the country, you need to obey the laws of that country or of the Hague Convention to serve him or her with legal process.
Divorce filing fees in NC (3 Rules to file in NC) Monroe NC Lawyer
If you cannot prove that you have proper service according to North Carolina law on the date of your scheduled hearing, the judge will not grant your divorce. A divorce that is done incorrectly can be set aside by the court. The skilled attorneys at Montgomery Family Law can help you whether you have support and property issues or just want to ensure your divorce is handled correctly by a professional.
If you are interested in hiring an attorney to assist you in filing for absolute divorce and you have no other outstanding issues, Montgomery Family Law will offer to complete your divorce for a flat fee that captures the costs of divorce in NC, fees, and attorney time associated with obtaining a divorce judgment. You can sit back and rest assured that your divorce will be handled adeptly by attorneys who know the pitfalls and how to avoid them. Call for a private consultation with one of our skilled attorneys to discuss your unique situation.
It is strongly recommended that you consult with a North Carolina family law attorney when considering a divorce in NC to ensure that you do not unintentionally waive your rights to spousal support and equitable distribution, even if you decide to file on your own. Consulting with a Raleigh family law attorney may also help ease any concerns you may have about the divorce process. The compassionate attorneys at Montgomery Family Law are able to assist you during this difficult time in your life. To schedule an appointment and learn more about our services and fees, contact us at Life is short and your time is too important to waste.
Posted By Attorney Scott Montgomery.