Separation questions


Dear MomOfBoys:

Greetings. Once you start living separation and apart, even if you only thought it was for a short period of time, your spouse can tell you not to return. You should not expect to get anything out of your house until you have an attorney and have discussed the marital estate with them.

You cannot have your marriage counselor testify, as that is privileged and a judge will not hear it. You can have friends and family testify and possibly show the bills from the marriage counseling.

The thirty (30) days for you to respond start when your attorney accepts service of process. Thank you.

Janet L. Fritts
Attorney with Rosen Divorce
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.256.1665 direct fax

10925 David Taylor Drive, Suite 100
Charlotte, North Carolina 28262
704.644.2831 main voice
704.307.4595 main fax


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.


My spouse and I have been married for 18 years and have three kids. We decided (him reluctantly) at marital counseling that I would bunk at a friend’s house while going through counseling, so kids would not be exposed to so much (more) raw anger and heated arguments. Since then, he has initiated a lawsuit against me claiming abandonment, that I am an unfit mother (due to abandonment and that I have a substantial number of volunteer community service hours), and has changed the locks and alarm codes on the house, saying that I am trespassing if I enter. I am the only wage earner, he is unemployed (but has claimed to be the homemaker - a term that I would not have used to describe him).

A few questions:

  1. Is he legally able to bar me from my house? When and what should I be expected to get out of my house?

  2. Is the word of a marital counselor enough to refute abandonment?

  3. The papers were supposedly sent to an address, to be served by a sheriff, back in mid-April, but was never received. They were sent to my attorney last week. Does the 30 days start when my attorney receives it, or on the date they supposedly sent it via the sheriff?