Can a legal separation start when a married couple ceases sexual relations and sleep in separate bedrooms?

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Can a legal separation start when a married couple ceases sexual relations and sleep in separate bedrooms?

We were married last year and we have no children or property to divide except

furniture.

Asked on November 14, 2018 under Family Law, North Carolina

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

In NC, a couple becomes legally separated on the date that each spouse moves into a separate residence with the intent to continue permanently live apart from one another. The fact is that living in the same home in different bedrooms is not being physically separated. Many people are under the mistaken belief that as long as they sleep in different bedrooms in the same home, then they are "separated". However, physical separation under the law means that you and your spouse must live in separate homes. Further, the other requirement of a separation is the intent of at least 1 party to be separated. If the parties stop living together and each person maintains their own home, it is not necessary that both parties agree on or want the separation. All it takes is the intent of one of the spouses to separate and to cease living together. Finally, as you know, a couple must be legally separated for 1 year and a day before they can file for divorce. However, there is no need to have a separation agreement or file anything with a court for the legal separation to take place.

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

In NC, a couple becomes legally separated on the date that each spouse moves into a separate residence with the intent to continue permanently live apart from one another. The fact is that living in the same home in different bedrooms is not being physically separated. Many people are under the mistaken belief that as long as they sleep in different bedrooms in the same home, then they are "separated". However, physical separation under the law means that you and your spouse must live in separate homes. Further, the other requirement of a separation is the intent of at least 1 party to be separated. If the parties stop living together and each person maintains their own home, it is not necessary that both parties agree on or want the separation. All it takes is the intent of one of the spouses to separate and to cease living together. Finally, as you know, a couple must be legally separated for 1 year and a day before they can file for divorce. However, there is no need to have a separation agreement or file anything with a court for the legal separation to take place.


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