Going Beyond One Year and One Day

What is the risk for a dependent spouse once a separated couple goes beyond the magic ‘one year’-separated mark? I understand that either can file for divorce. But if there is not a signed Separation Agreement yet, and there are still issues to work out with Property Distribution, retirement accts, child support & alimony, what is the procedure? Is the claim to alimony automatically lost?!

I am 14 months separated and so far my soon-to-be-ex has been giving me informal monthly support. We are trying to work things out but might need mediation. My lawyer has said NOT TO WORRY that we are beyond that magic 1-year date because IF my ex filed for divorce, we would have 30-60 days to reply, so I wouldn’t lose claim to anything. Is that true? I want to be sure I can’t lose my claim to alimony by being separated so long.

Without a prior claim to alimony and equitable distribution if the divorce is finalized you lose the right to them. Something needs to be filed with the court system showing there are still pending claims for alimony and equitable distribution etc…

*** Not a lawyer ***

Allow me to emphasize “if the divorce is finalized” in that statement.

As NC_Resident’s lawyer said, if the spouse files then NC_Resident would have opportunity to make those claims so just going over the 1 year + 1 day isn’t a major concern. But I think NC_Resident wants the opinion of the actual lawyers in this forum, and not a random person like me with no particular qualifications.

I guess that is the essence of my question… can the divorce be “finalized” without my knowing and/or having the right to respond to a filing by my ex? I just want to be triple sure because there are comments all over the place (not just this site) about “losing the right to alimony if you go beyond one year”… like it goes POOF at one year + one day. I just want to be sure that is NOT the case. Thanks for your replies, and hoping to hear from an attorney as well.

Your attorney is correct. If he files for divorce, your attorney would then be able to file a motion for extension, getting you an additional 30 days to respond to the complaint. If you are unable to come to an agreement in that time, you would want to counterclaim for equitable distribution and spousal support in order to preserve your rights to those actions otherwise they are lost. He will not be able to get a divorce without either the time period for you to respond expiring or without giving you notice of the hearing date, so you should be aware if/when the divorce is going to be finalized.