Non-Legal Separation

NC does not recognize “legal” separation. You are considered separated the day that you begin living separate and apart from each other. After one year one day of living separate and apart either party may file for absolute divorce.
Getting a separation agreement would go back to the date of separation and is not a necessity to be separated. The agreement would make separation and divorce smoother to transition because it divides marital assets and addresses things such as visition, child support, custody. A separation agreement could also protect either of you if a 3rd party gets involved in that it could spell out that while separated you would live as though you weren’t married. This is in some agreements so that it shows it’s agreed that either spouse is alright with the other dating.
If you move out for three months, you would be separated. If you moved back in, you would be reconciled.

I suggest that if you plan to move out for three months, and your spouse is in agreement that this may help a separation agreement could wait. If the 3 months shows no progress and you intend to make it permanent then you will need to consult an attorney. In fact, it may be a good idea to consult an attorney regardless. Though you do intend to take care of your responsibilities, you would not want your spouse bringing abandonment issues into this. Make sure that the intentions are spelled out, recorded and known by each of you prior to doing anything.

You are legally separated on the date that you and your Wife live separate and apart. There is no legal separation status in this status, so there is nothing to file with the court to show that you are separated. Before you move out, you may want to consult with an attorney to make sure you are protecting yourself in the event that you do divorce.

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.787.6361 main fax

Charlotte Office
301 McCullough Drive
Suite 510
Charlotte, NC 28262
Main Phone: (704)307.4600
Main Fax: (704) 9343.0044

Durham & Chapel Hill Office
1829 East Franklin Street
Building 600
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
(919) 321.0780


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.

I am wondering if it is possible to get a non legal separation in North Carolina? I tried reading up on this issue but haven’t been able to figure out an answer. Now we would be getting separated without intending to get a divorce…at least initially. I would still help pay all bills etc…

Just to give backround, we have had a really bad physical relationship since the beginning of our relationship. We didn’t have sex until about a year into our marriage and she did have sex with partners before she met me. So this among other things has always made me feel hurt and that she wasn’t/isn’t interested in me. Well, we recently tried marriage counseling and that didn’t work so I found a sexual marriage counselor. My wife did have a date rape situation occur when she was in college and I just have always felt that this has something to do with her twisted view of sex. So to get to my point, I have become very agitated and angry over the 7 years of our relationship because of the constant excuses and delays in getting anything fixed. The sexual counselor is very much supportive of all the women that she deals with (as she should be) and stresses that the women should go at their own pace and try to learn about their sexuality but at times it seems to be at the expense of the guy. After the 7 years of neglect in the relationship though, I am still getting very agitated when she delays homework or other things related to this process and I just feel that I may be getting in the way of potential progress or she may feel uncomfortable doing her homework while I am around. I was thinking maybe I should move out for three months, let her deal with her issues and if no progress is made over the three months then I can proceed with getting a legal separation. I just don’t want to have to go through a legal separation and pay all the fees if there is hope we can still be together if she does address this problem. Also, I think a legal separation may bring more problems to the relationship (arguing over visitation, child support, dividing assets etc…) that totally erase any chance of getting back together.

Any help would be appreciated.