Tre Morgan is a Raleigh, NC-based family law attorney who is trained in Collaborative Law.  Any article he writes is not intended as legal advice.  More information about Tre Morgan can be found on his blog at www.tremorgan.com.

As discussed in this Washington Post article, there are a lot of couples that simply cannot afford to divorce right now.  So, they are living in the same house, waiting for their financial picture to improve before moving forward.

This situation presents some problems for North Carolina residents.  First, like the Maryland couple in the article, North Carolina residents have to live in separate homes for one full year before they can ask the court for a divorce.  So, the period of living together while waiting out the economic downturn only adds to the time required to obtain a divorce.

This waiting game also impacts separation agreements (settlement agreements between married parties that resolve legal issues surrounding finances, child custody, child support, etc…).  North Carolina lawrequires that a couple begin living in separate homes very soon after reaching a separation agreement.  If a couple executes a separation agreement but continues to live together for too long, then the separation agreement can be voided by the court.  There is no exact deadline for moving out after reaching a separation agreement.  But, 30 days is probably the maximum period.  After that a couple risks invalidating the separation agreement.

If you are living with your spouse because you do not believe that you can financially afford to seek a divorce, you have options.  There are many processes for resolving the legal issues of a divorce.  Choosing a more efficient and economical divorce process may end your waiting game.