Separation and Divorce

Here at WH, we recognize that divorce and separation are sensitive issues that have a major impact on you and your family. That’s why we approach each case with compassion, understanding, and the utmost discretion. 

Our experienced team of attorneys will work closely with you to gather information and develop a plan for achieving your desired outcome. Along the way, we’ll also advise you on state-specific regulations, timeline considerations, and adjacent issues like childcare, dating, and financial matters. 

With an advocate on your side, you’ll be able to navigate the legal process with efficiency and ease. Keep reading for answers to common questions about divorce and separation, and reach out to us when you’re ready to connect.

Divorce & Separation Locations

Common questions regarding Separation and Divorce in North Carolina:

Do you need to file for separation? 

Yes and no. There is technically not a court filing to declare that you are separated. The court can force a separation through a Divorce for Bed and Board, which is based on certain fault claims.

Can I file my own separation agreement in NC?

Yes. You do not have to file a separation agreement with the court in order for it to be effective. However, even if you draft your own separation agreement it is best to have an attorney review. There are key laws that have to be mentioned in order for the agreement to be valid.

What happens if one spouse refuses to sign a separation agreement?

A separation agreement is a voluntary agreement. If one spouse refuses to sign, there is no legal way to force them to sign. They have to sign the agreement voluntarily. 

When do I get an attorney? 

You can consult with an attorney at any time. However, you should get an attorney before signing a separation agreement, or filing for the divorce, or if you receive filings by the other party.

What are the grounds for divorce?

Before filing for divorce, the following criteria has to be met: both parties had to have been separated for a year and a day, continuously, without resuming the marital relationship.

What do I need to do to get a divorce?

The first thing you should do is contact an attorney to complete the initial documents that need to be filed with the court so they can be served to the opposing party.  Although the process can vary in length, this is the general process of filing for divorce in North Carolina:

  1. Have your attorney draft the required paperwork with your notarized signature
  2. Mailing the documents to the court house for filing
  3. Waiting for the paperwork to be returned
  4. Servicing the papers to your spouse
  5. Waiting 30 days (the standard time the spouse receives to respond) 
  6. Hearing before the judge

It’s important to note that an issue(s) that occurs at any of these stages can delay the process further.

How long does the divorce process take in North Carolina?

Prior to COVID-19, the process typically took about 45-60 days. Due to COVID-19, backup at post offices, and remote proceedings this process is typically longer now and closer to 90 days.

Can I date while legally separated in NC?

Technically yes, but we encourage all of our clients to refrain from dating while separated. You are still technically married and starting a relationship can you open to civil liability through alienation of affection or criminal conversation. It is best not to start a relationship until a separation agreement is signed, alimony and property division is decided in court, or the divorce has been granted. 

However, If you are starting a relationship while still separated, please reach out to an attorney to discuss your options, including the possibility of a post-separation agreement.

What happens to my kids during a separation?

Both parties will need to have a mutually agreed upon scheduled, separation agreement, parenting agreement, or child custody order. If the parties cannot mutually agree on custody schedule, contact an attorney. 

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Our family law attorneys handle divorce and separation cases in all of the counties that we serve. Our attorneys are available to meet clients at the office location that is most convenient to them.

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