top of page


Do I Need a Separation Agreement before filing for Divorce?


Alexander J. King

In the state of North Carolina, an absolute divorce will be granted for parties who have lived separate and apart continuously for a period of one year. Couples must truly live “apart” which means that they may not continue to reside at the same residence for this yearly period. In addition, North Carolina is a no-fault state when it comes to divorce. This means that neither party needs to be at fault or blame for the dissolution of the marriage.

In regards to separation agreements, North Carolina does not recognize or require any type of formal “legal” separation. The only requirement is that couples have continuously lived separate and apart for a period of one year prior to filing for divorce. Thus, a separation agreement is not required. However, there are often issues that need to be addressed prior to the one year separation date and filing for divorce.

What is a Separation Agreement?

A separation agreement is a document, often drafted by an experienced attorney, that acts as a contract between spouses during their period of separation before they are eligible for a divorce. Although such an agreement or contract is not required in the state of North Carolina, separation agreements can often make the divorce process go more smoothly. The agreement is used to provide details as to how a couple plans to handle their finances, living arrangements, bills and other assets during their separation period. A separation period, when done correctly, acts as a formal contract and is enforceable under North Carolina contract law.

What should I do if I am presented with a Separation Agreement?

If your spouse presents you with a separation agreement, you should not sign it until you have spoken with an experienced lawyer. The lawyers at King & Rowe, PLLC can assist you with reviewing a separation agreement and making any necessary changes that should be made before you are sign.

At King & Rowe, PLLC, our experienced legal team is available to answer all of your questions regarding a separation and impending divorce. We can assist you in drafting and executing a separation agreement or can discuss the merits of such and any other options that you may have. To learn more about separation agreements, legal separation, or the divorce process, contact one of our experienced attorneys at King & Rowe, PLLC, at (828) 466-3858.

bottom of page