Am I divorced?

My husband and I separated in 1997. He has untreated bi-polar-schizophrenia, and became violent. We never legally divorced, although I have not lived with him since 1997. We have no property to divide, and our one daughter is now a grown woman of 27.
My husband was on social security disability at the time we separated, and although I was told I didn’t have to live with him, we had to stay legally married for me to get me share of his disability, which I raised our daughter on.
I stopped getting money in 2006, when our daughter was 17. I have not seen my husband since 2006. He did not recognize me or our daughter, when we last saw him. My husband was so agitated by that meeting, my daughter and I decided it would serve no purpose to see him any more. I am now not even sure where he lives.
I have had an on-line lawyer tell me I have a "common law divorce."
I would not worry about it, except that I am dating a nice man, and wonder what I would need to do should I wish to marry again.
Thank You!
Debra Hubbard

You are not divorced. You need to see an attorney and file for divorce, serve your husband by notice in the newspaper if you have no idea where he is, in newspaper in locale of his last known place of residence.

You are not divorced, North Carolina does not recognize a ‘common law divorce.’ You are legally married until you obtain an absolute divorce judgment from the court.

When you are ready to move forward with your absolute divorce, you will find our DIY Divorce eBook very helpful. It includes information you many need regarding service by publication (if you do not know where to serve your spouse).