Please help


Helena and others can help you more, but here’s what I can tell you:

  1. Separation is simply the two of you living apart. There’s no filing for a legal separation in this state. However, you may wish to negotiate a “separation agreement” between you and your STBX, which would have to be signed by both parties and notarized to be valid. It is this agreement, if done properly and looked over by an attorney, which may protect you financially and legally.

The separation agreement can address such things as alimony and distribution of debts/assets. It can also delineate what happens in the event of a reconciliation.

2.) Unless you file for a divorce from bed & board (you can find a definition elsewhere on this site), you must wait the full year to file for divorce. Since she has yo-yo’ed back and forth between leaving and has cheated on you, you may be able to file for the divorce from bed & board. Not sure.

3.) To protect your assets and finances, make sure all your financial accounts are separated. Do not allow her access to your bank accounts. You may also wish to place a freeze on your credit report, which would discourage her opening up any accounts jointly or under your name.

4.) To protect yourself, period, keep all communication that you can obtain (emails, cell phone records, voice mails, etc). If you are talking over the phone about stuff, keep a phone log with the date, time/duration of the call, and some notes about what was discussed.

5.) I’d also change the locks on the house to prevent any unauthorized visits.

If you have proof that she committed alimony (like that email), then you do not have to pay her alimony should she attempt to get it.

Sorry you’re going through this, but better to be safe. Look after yourself, take care of yourself. Good luck!


Proof of adultery is a bar to alimony in NC by the DEPENDENT spouse. If your ex was dependent on you during the marriage and you can prove she committed adultery, then she will not receive alimony. I am not sure that I agree with Athos to close all accounts. Take 50% because your ex is entitled to 50% no matter what. Your marriage is short-lived. If you both were making approximately the same salary, then there is no “standard of living” to be determined. You can go your separate ways with 50% of the accumulated marital assets. No kids. No ties. Age is also a factor. In a three year marriage, I doubt much will happen except you go your separate ways. DO NOT listen to her or her lawyer. Sign nothing. After only 3 years, you are pretty much on your own and owe her…not much. Be glad you are rid of a cheating spouse. There are decent women out there. Don’t pay a lawyer tons of money for this. It ain’t worth it and neither is she.


FWIW, I didn’t say close the account. I said separate the accounts. Put her money in an account for her or leave it in whatever account it is in now, if it’s accessible to her, so that she can determine what is to become of it. (She is entitled to 1/2 the assets acquired during the marriage.) Put your money in an account for you that she doesn’t have access to, and don’t give her the means to open up accounts in your name using your credit. The idea being that should she not like being told that you don’t want to reconcile, she cannot hurt your finances.


Touche, Athos. However, she will be accountable for any expenditures of “marital assets”. And so will her soon to be ex. Better to do this one over the kitchen table. As are most “divorces”. The legal mumbo jumbo is just that. And the lawyers walk away with the “spoils”. In a 3 year marriage, just get it done…forget the locks, the emails…let the tramp go!

  1. There is no legal form to file for separation in NC, you are legally separated as of the date that you begin to live separate and apart. Because she left the residence and began living elsewhere you have the right to exclude her from your marital residence, you simply need to inform her that you do not want her to return.

  2. What assets do you have concerns about?

  3. Prior to May of 2009, you can file an action for equitable distribution which asks the court to divide your property, because she cheated you may also be able to file an action for divorce from bed and board.

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
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

Sutton Station
5826 Fayetteville Rd. Suite 205
Durham, NC 27713
Phone: (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.


My wife left without notice in May of this year & went back home to another state. This makes the 4th or 5th time she has left in our 3 year marriage & have no children. Since then she had sent me an email stating that she had cheated on me while she was there. However, now, she wants to reconcile & come back home. My problem is that I am unsure if I want to continue this marriage due to lack of trust from many other factors as well. People are telling me that I need to file for separation in order to protect myself. However, I have noticed that there are no legal forms for separation.

  1. What would be my best way to file in this instance: abandonment, adultery, or both (if possible)?

  2. Is there anything that I can do during our separation to safeguard my assets?

  3. Is there nothing to file until May of 2009?

Thanks for your help regarding this issue.