Dear hanginginthere:

Greetings. Well, I unfortunately have little for you, except negative news. First, the funds you deposited into the marital residence were “presumed” to be a gift in North Carolina. That means that he is entitled to half of all the equity in the marital residence, regardless of if the equity is only the $20,000 you put down on the house.

Second, no you cannot file for divorce in one year after you started to have your own bedroom. You must be separated - living in a separate residence - for one year prior to filing for divorce.

Now, you have another problem which you are not dealing with … how to get his name off the marital residence? You must do this prior to the divorce. If you retain an attorney, you may be able to negotiate with him for a reasonable settlement where you give him about $5,000 or less for his share of the marital residence and you receive a quitclaim deed. Either way, even if he agrees, you need a separation agreement to ensure that he cannot later make a request to the court for equitable distribution. Best of luck.

Janet L. Fritts
Attorney with Rosen Divorce
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
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.

Neither of us want to move out. I put the money down on the house ($20,000)and we have lived here 3 years. Money used was mine before we were married. The house is both of our names. I want to live in this house. The neighbors and I are close and they are able to help me and my son when needed.

There is no communication between us. He will not talk and counselors have said he is in denial and won’t listen. (He has gone a couple of times, but then quits) We are living like ‘roommates’ – I am in one bedroom and he is in another. He says he will move out only if I ‘buy’ him out and give him money for his distress.

Initial question: Can I file for divorce in one year after I have moved out of our shared bedroom? We do nothing together and have not had a sexual relationship in months.