Do I have to file separation papers after my wife and I quit living together?

Question:Cordell & Cordell attorney Andrea Miller

Do I have to file any separation papers with the court after my wife and I quit living together?

Or can I just file for divorce after we have met the separation requirements?



In North Carolina where I practice, you do not have to file for separation. Some people file a “separation agreement” whereby they divide the property and other assets and liabilities and determine what the schedule will be like for the children and how much support will be paid.  However, it is not necessary.

After you have lived a day and one year apart from one another you can file for divorce. You have to have lived together one year prior to filing, so you have to wait an additional extra day to file.

Please be advised that my answering of this question does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Cordell & Cordell has attorneys located nationwide should you seek legal advice.


Andrea Miller is a Staff Attorney in the Charlotte, N.C., office of Cordell & Cordell where she practices domestic relations exclusively. Ms. Miller is licensed in the state of North Carolina. Ms. Miller received her undergraduate degree in History and her Juris Doctor from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  While in law school, she on the Client Counseling Team for Moot Court and became a board member. Ms. Miller also participated in UNC’s Legal Assistance Clinic whereby she helped represent indigent clients obtain legal counsel primarily in the area of domestic relations.

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