What happens if my spouse and I reconcile briefly during the one-year separation, but still wish to obtain a divorce after one year?

It used to be the case in North Carolina that “getting together” (i.e., sexual contact) with a spouse during the one-year separation put an end to living “separate and apart.” Due to changes in the law during the 1980s, this is no longer the case, although the law and judicial precedent prescribe what does—and does not—halt the 12-month separation period required for divorce.

State law (§52-10.2.) explicitly notes that “isolated incidents of sexual intercourse between the parties shall not constitute resumption of marital relations.” Instead, resumption of marital relations “shall be defined as voluntary renewal of the husband and wife relationship, as shown by the totality of the circumstances.” The “totality of the circumstances” may include, for example, whether you and your spouse have:

  • Moved back in together
  • Shared household duties
  • Told friends and family that your problems are resolved
  • Appeared in public together

It may also include seemingly minor details such as where your automobile, pets and other belongings are kept and how bills are paid as well as how long a (seeming) period of reconciliation lasts.

If you and your spouse resume marital status and cohabitate, however, you must wait until one year from the date of the second separation to officially obtain a divorce. While this may seem like a simple process, complicated issues involving child custody, child support, alimony and asset division can arise in divorce, which is why it’s important to have the assistance of a Raleigh divorce lawyer.

The “totality of the circumstances” may include, for example, whether you and your spouse have:

  • Moved back in together
  • Shared household duties
  • Told friends and family that your problems are resolved
  • Appeared in public together

It may also include seemingly minor details such as where your car, pets and other belongings are kept and how bills are paid as well as how long a (seeming) period of reconciliation lasts. If you and your spouse resume marital status and cohabitate, however, you must wait until one year from the date of the second separation to officially obtain a divorce. While this may seem like a simple process, complicated issues involving child custody, child support, alimony and asset division can arise in divorce, which is why it’s important to have the assistance of a Raleigh divorce lawyer.