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Divorce Question: Can We Legally Separate and Live in the Same House?

empty apartment

If you and your spouse are considering divorce, legal separation is the first step in the official process. 

Separation can look very different depending on how amicable your situation. Occasionally, couples want to separate while living under the same roof to save money. If you and your partner are splitting peacefully, this may seem logical. However, if you intend to file for divorce, North Carolina law has requirements.

Grounds for divorce in North Carolina are incurable insanity of a spouse or separation for a year. In order to be considered legally separated, you and your spouse must not live under the same roof. Legal separation officially takes effect when one or both parties vacate the marital property. Also, at least one party must have the intention of making the separation permanent. 

In North Carolina, legal separation does not require a written agreement, but a couple may choose to have a lawyer draft up a separation agreement. In this agreement, you and your spouse can decide on factors such as child custody, property division, and spousal support. This would be the time to begin addressing any financial concerns you may have and speak to your attorney on how to protect your assets down the road. A separation agreement can also pave the way for a smooth divorce. 

If you have chosen separation but have not yet legally separated, you may want to begin making plans for a second residence. The clock on your one year doesn’t start until one of you moves out. 

If you have any questions or concerns about the separation or divorce process in North Carolina, visit our divorce workshop. You’ll have the chance to ask an attorney, a financial adviser, and a therapist about divorce.  


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