First of all, we do not generally “file” a Separation Agreement in North Carolina, we sign it and have each party keep a copy. There is not a requirement that the document be filed in a public record in most instances.
Secondly, the document is not generally signed at the time of separation. It is usually signed several months after separation.
Finally, the separation agreement has nothing to do with the one year separation required to obtain an absolute divorce. In order to obtain an absolute divorce you must live apart for one year without regard to whether you have or have not signed a Saparation Agreement.
So, once you have lived apart for the one year period you may seek a divorce even though you may have signed your Separation Agreement 3 months after separation or never signed one at all.
Lee S. Rosen
Board Certified Family Law Specialist
The Rosen Law Firm
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.