In North Carolina, in order to file for a divorce, the spouses must have been separated for at least twelve months, with it being the intent of at least one of the parties to remain separate and apart. This twelve month time frame applies only to the divorce, and matters of custody, equitable distribution and alimony can be resolved before that time.
It is important to realize, however, that if a divorce is obtained and a party to the divorce has not previously filed an action with the Court for equitable distribution or alimony, or has not settled those matters in a separation agreement, then the right to ask the Court for equitable distribution or alimony is forever waived. Thus, if a spouse has filed for a divorce, it is important that the other spouse obtain legal advice before that divorce is entered to make sure that they fully understand the ramifications of the entry of the divorce and take steps to protect their rights if necessary.
If you are involved in a divorce or family law dispute in Alamance County or Guilford County, our experienced attorneys can offer you the intelligent legal advice and comprehensive representation you need.