“I Want To Be Legally Separated”

I am frequently asked how someone can become legally separated in North Carolina. Spouses are considered to be separated in NC when they begin to live separate and apart. Generally, this means that the spouses live at separate addresses. Many of you may have seen the old movie called “The War of the Roses” starring Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas. In that movie, neither spouse wishes to leave the marital residence so they live in the same house but consider themselves to be separated. Ultimately, that arrangement doesn’t work out too well for the couple and they end up dying a hideous (and acrimonious) death at the end of the movie. In North Carolina, the Roses likely would not have been considered separated and had they separated according to the requirements of NC law, they likely would have avoided their simultaneous deaths by chandelier (watch the movie if you don’t know what that means).

Once a spouse moves out of the marital residence, the parties are considered separated under North Carolina law and the one year period of separation necessary in order to obtain a divorce begins. Becoming separated is only the first step. There are important legal issues that arise as a result of becoming separated and it is important to address these issues prior to a divorce. Claims for Alimony, Post-Separation support and Equitable Distribution must all be filed or settled in an enforceable manner prior to a divorce or the spouse will lose the right to make those claims. Custody, Child Support and Visitation are other issues that are best addressed either before or soon after a separation.

At Coan and Farris, Attorneys at Law, we can assist you with all matters related to separation and divorce. Our attorneys have extensive experience in these matters. Please call 704-845-2500 to set up an appointment to speak to one of our attorneys today. Coan and Farris is conveniently located in Matthews, NC and we serve clients in both Mecklenburg County and Union County. We practice in both Monroe, NC and in Charlotte, NC and in all outlying areas. We look forward to serving you.

DeAnne M. Coan
Attorney at Law