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In N.C., what constitutes the start date of a legal separation? Also, when does the clock start ticking until a divorce date?

Raleigh, NC |

If a married couple verbally agreed to separate and 1 spouse moved to another state and worked for 2 years, while the other spouse stayed in the primary residence, would this qualify for a legal separation. Both spouses still kept the same primary residence address since spouse who worked out of state lived in a hotel paid for by his employer. Also, does the close start ticking for a divorce to be granted from the date of the verbal separation, or, from the date a written legal separation is filed in the courthouse?

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Attorney answers 3


The date of separation for purposes of getting a divorce is the date the spouses separate with he intention of at least one of them not to resume the relationship. A written agreement is not necessary, nor do you have to both agree to be separated. The act of staying apart with the intent of one of you to stay separated is enough. Based on the facts indicated, the separation occurred two years ago.


In order to obtain an absolute divorce in North Carolina, you must be physically separated (maintain separate residences) for at least one year and one day, with the intent to end the marital relationship. The "clock" would start ticking from there. In addition, either husband or wife must be a resident of NC for at least 6 months before the divorce action is filed.

Often times people confuse a separation agreement with a legal separation so it isn't clear exactly what you mean by a legal separation, however,either way, the date to look at for a divorce is when husband or wife moved to a new address with the intent to end the marital relationship.

Any answer provided through this discussion board is a general response to the question and NOT intended as legal advice. Responding to this question does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Always seek the advice of a lawyer directly to address your specific circumstances.


You've been given good answers about the law on separation - but you need to consider more than that. If there are children or property interests at stake you would be well advised to consult a local attorney and discuss the case in detail.

Under the rules governing the conduct of attorneys in New York it may be necessary to remind you that this answer could be considered attorney advertising.

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