Numerous myths and ill thought-out advice can sabotage a divorce before it even begins. The following are common divorce myths:
1. Living in the Same Home in Different Bedrooms Means You are Legally Separated
The myth if both parties live in different bedrooms in the same home then they are legally separated. In North Carolina, an absolute divorce may be granted on one of two grounds: the incurable insanity of your spouse or a one-year separation. A couple is legally separated on the date that one of the spouses moves into a separate residence with the intent to continue living separate and apart from one another permanently. Many times people are under the mistaken belief that as long as they sleep in different bedrooms in the same home and say they are separated that is sufficient to qualify for the one-year separation. However, it is not. If you and your spouse reconcile for a period of time and move back in together, you are required to restart the one year separation clock if you later decide to separate permanently.
2. Divorce From Bed and Board is an Absolute Divorce
The myth is that divorce from bed and board is an absolute divorce. This is not the case. In North Carolina, divorce from bed and board is a court-ordered separation. You are still legally married. You cannot remarry until you obtain an absolute divorce.
3. Uncontested Divorce Means I Do Not Need an Attorney or I can Share an Attorney with my Spouse
The myth is that an uncontested divorce means you do not need an attorney or only need one attorney for both parties. In North Carolina, an attorney can only provide legal representation to one party. If you are unrepresented, you could miss out on your rights. It is always best for both parties to have an attorney representing them. Critical matters can be involved in a divorce such as child custody, child support, alimony, and property division.
4. You Can’t Get a Divorce if Your Spouse Doesn’t Want It
The myth is that you cannot obtain a divorce if your spouse doesn’t want it. In North Carolina, you only have to meet two basic requirements to obtain an absolute divorce. First, you must live separate and apart for at least one year with the intent of remaining separate permanently. Secondly, at least one of you must have been a North Carolina residence for six months prior to filing the divorce proceedings.
5. You Must Enter Into A Separation Agreement Prior to Filing for Divorce
The myth is that you must enter into a separation agreement prior to filing for divorce. You are not required to entered into a separation agreement prior to filing for divorce. A separation agreement is a binding contract. Often parties voluntary enter into separation agreements prior to filing for divorce. However, it is not required.