Legally separated while in the same house?

As long as you live in the same house, you are technically not separated.

Now, having said that, if the room can only be accessed via the separate entrance and he’s not using any of the main house facilities, kitchen or bath, then there’s an argument to be made.

However, if it hasn’t been issued a separate address by the tax collector or 911 in the county in which you live, then it’s still technically the same residence because mail will go to the same place regardless of the setup. The addressing on the complaint (to & from being the same) would red flag someone in the court.

Unless the garage is zoned as a separate apartment with a separate mailing address, separate utilities etc. this will not count as a separation.

P.S. Please feel free to bring up this or any other topic on our live call-in show every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. EST. Visit for details

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
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Charlotte, NC 28262
Main Phone: (704)307.4600
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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 only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.

My husband is now turning the room above the (attached) garage into an “apartment” with a separate entrance and bathroom. He plans to live there and claim we are separated while still living in the same house. Is this legal???

You can access the rest of the house through a door, and quite frankly, I am very uncomfortable (not to mention the kids’ confusion) at the idea of him living here for a year, and partying, and bringing women into the house, etc. What should I do?

He is currently paying the mortgage and electric bill, but has turned off the phone, and is turning off cable TV and internet. I have medical probs and have applied for disability and am currently a dependent spouse, and can not afford another place until ED is settled, which could take quite some time. Any advice?