For a married couple to be considered separated under North Carolina law, the parties must be living in separate homes, and at least one party must form the intent to be separated permanently from the other spouse and inform the other party of this intent. This is important because a claim for equitable distribution in North Carolina cannot be filed until the parties are separated, and a Judgment of Divorce cannot be entered until the parties have been separated for at least one year. 

The question often arises regarding who gets to stay in the marital residence and who moves out. The decision to stay or leave the marital residence can have different effects depending on a party’s individual circumstances. If the parties have a child together, the possibility of being accused of abandonment, and accusations of domestic violence are just a few examples of things to keep in mind when determining whether to stay or leave the marital residence. Before leaving the marital residence, you may want to speak to a family law attorney to be advised on what is best for your situation. 

In conclusion, before deciding on whether or not to leave the marital residence, you should speak with an experienced family law attorney to learn about all your options, and to help determine the best decision to make. Contact Hatcher Law Group for a consultation with an experienced family law attorney to understanding your rights and options moving forward.