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Separating During COVID - A How To

Posted by Kathleen Murphy | Apr 28, 2020

How does it work in North Carolina when you wish to start the separation from your spouse? 

Separation in North Carolina is essentially voluntary unless there is domestic violence.  Therefore, a short answer is you cannot force a spouse out even if they are committing adultery.  The only recourse to remove a spouse from the house without domestic violence is to negotiate the move through your lawyer.  In some instances, an individual can file a lawsuit for Divorce from Bed and Board however, this action does not give the court authority to kick someone out as much as it can award possession of a home for the benefit of the children as an incident to child support.  (This topic can be very complex so a short summary of the action is not really providing enough information)

A person can leave the home at anytime as abandonment is not really important to the overall case (in most instances - speak with your attorney before you relocate).

Typically, one spouse is prepared to be more amendable to moving and it is important that you and your attorney fully discuss the personalities involved and what would be the best motivation to accomplish the goal of separating.   It can become complicated when children are involved.

About the Author

Kathleen Murphy

Kathleen Murphy is graduate of North Carolina State University with a B.A. in Political Science, 1985. She attended Campbell University Law School and received her Juris Doctorate, 1988. Ms. Murphy has been a family law attorney for over 30 years and has limited her practice solely to family law since 1988. On October 1, 2023, Kathleen accepted a position as a senior attorney with Triangle Divorce Lawyers and she can be reached at [email protected]. Ms. Murphy is a member of the North Carolina State Bar, North Carolina Bar Association, NCBA Family Law Section Member, is a trained Family Financial Mediator and a trained Child's Advocate. Ms. Murphy is married to a City of Raleigh Firefighter and has four children, three daughters and a son. Ms. Murphy is a contributor to an International podcast. Crime Stories with Nancy Grace is broadcasted daily and you can hear Ms. Murphy's comments on cases involving victims of family crimes and the impact of family court.