Separation Requirement and Abandonment

In NC you have to live separately a year before applying for Divorce. Our current house is in both of our names and we pay half of every single expense including mortgage. I asked my husband to move out as I wanted to make it least impact full for my kids who are 5 and 3 years old. I am even ready to pay half his rent in addition to everything else but he refused. He said let’s sell this house and get half of the portion and move on with our lives which is okay by me but we can’t sell the house until we move out as it needs some paint and other smaller improvements.

I am looking for places to rent in the same school district for the time being so my kids routine doesn’t mess up and I don’t have saved up money to buy my own place at the moment. If I move out to a rental will it be considered abandonment even if I keep paying half the mortgage of the house? Everywhere I have read about it says never leave your house as it will be considered abandonment but how will the separation period start if one of us doesn’t leave the current lodging? My husband is refusing to leave so I have to leave with the kids but I don’t want to create problems in the next steps of this long ordeal.

It is fine for you to move out into your own home, especially if the separation is mutually agreed upon between you and your husband. It is not abandonment if you are both agreeing to the separation.

Abandonment only occurs when one spouse moves out of the marital residence without justification, without consent of the other spouse, and without the intent of renewing the cohabitation. A spouse is justified in leaving if that spouse cannot continue the marital relationship with health, safety, and self-respect.


Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh • Wake Forest

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