North Carolina law requires spouses to separate for one year and one day before they can get a divorce. During that separation period, you cannot live in the same household together, or cohabitate.
While this is a requirement, you might worry about your rights. If you move out, do you forfeit your rights to the property?
The answer: Not necessarily
Moving out of the family home can be a complex issue. You don’t want to leave the home you love, where you are comfortable. However, leaving for the separation period does not mean you are giving up your rights to the house. You do not necessarily need to worry about your rights in these cases as long as you:
- Take a careful approach to your divorce
- Establish a separation agreement
Essentially, you and your spouse can determine in the separation agreement who will move out of the house. You can also ensure you still protect and retain your rights to the property. It is critical to plan how you will move out. A separation agreement is only a part of that plan. Make sure you take time to consider all of the factors of your situation so you can prepare your approach effectively.
What about your rights in a custody case?
When you move out, you may not want to leave your house – but the very last thing you want to leave is your children. This is another time when a separation agreement can be incredibly helpful.
You can establish a temporary custody schedule and arrangement that you can follow during the separation. You can also make sure you protect your parental rights through this, even if you are the one moving out of the household for the separation period.
As The North Carolina Judicial Branch indicates, separation agreements are not a requirement. However, they can make a big difference and ease the separation period for the whole family. The details of this agreement may not be final once you eventually settle the divorce. In the meantime, it can help you protect your rights.