Do I need to be legally separated from my spouse in order to get a divorce in North Carolina?

No, you do not need to be legally separated to obtain a North Carolina divorce. Still, you need to make sure that you meet the legal definition of “separation.”

State law mandates that you and your spouse must actually live separate and apart for at least one year before you are eligible to file for divorce. If you live in separate areas of the same house, this does not satisfy the requirement. If you live in separate houses but maintain the appearance of a relationship, this will not satisfy the requirement, either.

Additionally, if you reconcile with your spouse, the separation period ends. Isolated sexual intercourse with your spouse is not considered to be reconciliation. However, if you move in together, go out in public together and have regular sexual intercourse, it would likely be considered reconciliation.

You can read more about the separation requirement on our page about North Carolina divorces or our page on How to Prove You Are Separate and Apart in North Carolina.