If you know you are in a dead relationship and are planning to get a divorce, there are a number of things you need to understand and plan for. Under North Carolina law, to get a divorce, you are required to live separate and apart for a year and a day. This separation period must be continuous and requires that the parties live in different residences. Additionally, at least one party must have lived in the state for at least six months prior to filing for the divorce.
Before filing for divorce, however, it is extremely important that the parties have divided up their property and determined any potential alimony. Any claim for equitable distribution, or property division, must be made prior to the divorce being finalized or a court will have no authority to divide the property. The same is true for alimony. If a claim for alimony is not made before a divorce is finalized, no claim for alimony may be made in the future. A court would not have the authority to enter such an order.
For this reason, it is very common for parties to enter into a separation agreement before they are divorced. Most commonly, a separation agreement covers property division and alimony. Separation agreements may also discuss child custody and child support. For most parties, its beneficial to enter into a separation agreement because it saves them money (no drawn out attorney and litigation expenses) and gives them more control over what is in the agreement (the parties determine the terms of the agreement, not a judge).
If you are considering a divorce, it is highly recommended that you seek a consultation with a divorce attorney. Whether you decide to use an attorney or handle your own case, a consultation with a divorce attorney can at least give you information on your rights and what direction you need to take. If you would like to schedule a consultation with a divorce attorney, contact Adkins Law. Adkins Law is located in Huntersville NC and serves Mecklenburg County and the Lake Norman area.