Is it mandatory that there be a separation prior to divorce?

I’m a little confused on the laws in NC. Is it mandatory that we be separated for an entire year before we are granted a divorce? Both parties want the divorce. Both parties have agreed to who gets what, and both parties are living in separate houses. Why does this have to be such a lengthy process?

Yes. NC law requires that the parties to a divorce be living separate and apart for one year and one day before the complaint for divorce can be filed. The state legislature drafts the laws, and there are waiting periods in several states. If I had to guess, I would say the reason for the requirement is that the state wants to ensure the parties are not going to reconcile.

Ok, how do we go about making a date for our separation? We’ve technically been living apart and separated for several months now… how do we put that into action? Is it something we file or is it something we do ourselves?

There is nothing to file until you file the actual complaint for divorce after the one year period has run. The divorce complaint is also an affidavit in which you swear to the veracity of the alleged date of separation.