Legal seperation

Dear Summer:

Greetings. Let me answer your questions one at a time in my own order:

  1. Yes, you must be legally separated for one year and one day prior to filing for divorce. A legal separation is described as the date either spouse leaves the marital residence (moves out) and intends to be separated permanently. You do not need separation “papers” or an agreement to become legally separated. On the other hand, I do recommend that you have a separation agreement signed prior to the date you or your husband relocate.

  2. If you go to Child Support Enforcement, which is free or for a minor cost ($25.00 or so), they will file your child support claim on your behalf and get you some child support. He will have to begin paying, or pay you arrears, from the time they file, so I recommend that you file immediately. You do not need his pay stub, although you will need his social security number and any other information on him that you have. The process takes anywhere from two weeks to two months, but the child support enforcement agency can inform you better about the timing.

  3. I highly recommend that you retain an attorney to draft and negotiate your separation agreement. We do have a separation agreement on our website as an example. This document may guide your relationship with your husband for the rest of your life or your children’s lives and it is not something that I would trust to a “form.” Best of luck with this.

Janet L. Fritts
Attorney at Law
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 200
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607

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.

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Hi, my name is Alyson, I saw your message. You situation is just like mine. It really helped me to know that I didn’t have to have seperation papers to be legally seperated. Please feel free to write me.


I am looking for legal seperation papers. Does it have to be done by a lawyer. Can I just get the forms and fill them out myself. If so where and who do I give them back too.
Isn’t it true that he doesn’t have to pay chid support until there are legal papers? Is it true that he doesn’t have to pay child support if he doesn’t have a pay stub? How long do papers take to file?
And is it true you have to be seperated for a year before you can get a divorce?

Summer Perry