Guidance Please

In North Carolina you can only get divorced based on a 1 year separation or incurable insanity (which is highly unusual.) Separation means that you and your wife have to live in separate residences for at least 1 year. So, sleeping on the couch or in another room doesn’t count.

You should be concerned that she may be entitled to alimony. In North Carolina, she need only prove that she is a dependent spouse to be eligible for alimony. If you can show she committed some marital misconduct, or other statutory infraction (see our website), then you may keep her from getting alimony.

You should also be aware that during the time you and she were married, she is entitled to any increase in value of property owned during the marriage. That would include your house, even though it’s only titled in your name. It doesn’t mean she will get the house, just that she may be entitled to some distribution of funds due to a decrease in the debt and an increase in its value since the date of marriage, if she can show marital funds were used to make that happen.

As far as custody is concerned, unless you and she work it out in a separation agreement, it will be difficult for you to get a court to award equal custody. Judges tend to only do that when the parties get along very well, and it appears that such a set up won’t detriment the child in any way. Usually, the believe that too much back and forth may not be in the child’s best interests. Talk to a lawyer in your area about the judges in your county for a better feel on that.

Good luck!

Shonnese D. Stanback
The Rosen Law Firm
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 200
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.256.1534 direct voice
919.256.1667 direct fax
919.787.6668 main voice
919.787.6361 main fax

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.

I have been currently married for 22 months, and have an 18 month old son. I had purchased my home prior to my wife moving in. There is no documents with her name on them other than auto insurance coverage and a seperate policy for her wedding ring. All utilities, household documents, titles, leins, and such are fully in my name. I make almost 3x what she does as a gross salary. What should I be concerned with as the impending seperation/divorce approaches? I wish to have a minimuim of 50% legal and physical custody of our son. Is there any advice you can offer me? Thanks, worndown in NC.

In addition, do I have any grounds for divorce seeing the fact that my wife has choosen to sleep on the couch, say 98% of the time since we were married?