Seperation law

First I would not surrender custody to him for ANY reason especially if he has been abusive towards you. You may never get to see your children again and you never know how he may treat them once you are no longer in the picture to abuse. Remember, never say never.

Secondly, NC does not recognize in house separation as being legal. Many couples will use the date that they separated in house as the date on the papers, but it is not legal to do so. Personally (and I know that it is not legal), if both parties agree to it, I don’t see anything wrong with it. But if by any chance he changed his mind or the like, you could be charged with breaking the law (not sure what degree it would be though).

Thanks for your reply. I just do not find it fair that they make it financially impossible to divorce by insisting that you keep seperate residences for a year. Especially in a case where violence has been a factor in the decision to divorce. I do not need another year of depression. I need a clean break.


I don’t know what county you are in, but please please take my advice, take your son and get out. There are plenty of shelters that you and your son could stay at and they are well trained in therapy and starting over. Many have resources that will help you to find housing, free legal help and such. Don’t stay. If you are in Wake Co, they have Interact and they are great from all that I have heard. Please don’t stay. Let me know what county you are in and I will see if I can find out where your local domestic violence shelter is.

I have to agree with the previous poster. Do not stay in the home if there is abuse. Take the child and leave. Go to a shelter. Report the abuse.

If you lie about the separation date then you would be committing Perjury (lying to the court) and ultimately your divorce would not be legal. I know a couple who have done this but that means that if either of them ever remarry and the other decides to cause problems…though both would be charged, the one remarried would also be guilty of bigomy. I do not think that the claims are investigated but in your situation I would think that you would not want to place potential problems down the road.

I am in wake county, and while i do understand how serious abuse is and that is my ultimate reason for leaving, he has not been violent in quite a while. And he is a wonderful dad…just not a good husband. He has come to the point where he understands how serious it is to physically hurt his wife and i honestly believe that were i to stay in the relationship, we would not have that problem again. However, there’s no way for me to love him again after being put through the abuse for 2 years, and i just want to start my life over. Im only 22 and i am planning on going back to school while allowing him to have custody, although i will still be a part of their lives. And I will be sure to include in the seperation agreement that i want shared custody when i am settled. Thank you so much for your concern and for taking the time to write me. So many people want to turn their heads and pretend that abuse couldnt happen to someone they know.


We have decided to wait until the baby is born and then i will move in with my parents until the one year seperation is over. Thank you for all your advice. I definitely did not want to put myself in a position of lying to the court, but financially it is so hard to split.


Also know, that once you give him custody, YOU will have to take him back to court and prove a substantial change in your circumstances to regain any custody of your children. Don’t let him fool you just because he hasn’t hit you lately. They do not change that easily. If his change came on his own, with no therapy or treatment, then it will likely rear it’s ugly head again and to much more severe degree. Staying together because you are pregnant is a dangerous situation. But whatever you do, please remember that if you give him custody now, it will be more difficult to regain it later on and it will cost YOU a lot of money. If you are willing to go with shared custody and you will be living with your parents, why not go for that now? I am concerned that you will lose your children for good, regardless of what he may be saying now.

There is no way around the one year separation period and if you lie it means that your divorce is void. If you ever tried to remarry in the future you could be charged with the crime of bigamy and may be denied any benefits from that marriage.

If you are a victim of domestic violence there is assistance available to you and your children. You should call the clerk of court in your county and ask to speak to the domestic violence unit.

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

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Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
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My husband and I have a one year old son and I am pregnant with our second son who is due in March. We both have agreed that a divorce is necessary. There have been a lot of turmoil ever since we got married. There has also been a lot of violence on his part towards me, although we have agreed that for the time being, he will maintain custody of the children. The NC divorce law states that you must be seperated for a year and live apart before you can obtain a divorce. Is there any way around that law? If we claim to have been seperated but still lived in the same apartment because financially it was impossible to do otherwise, would they investigate our claims? What would happen if they did find out, or do you have to prove seperation.