In North Carolina, obtaining an absolute divorce based on one year’s separation is governed by specific legal provisions. This process allows couples to dissolve their marriage without alleging fault grounds such as adultery, abandonment, or cruelty. Instead, it relies on the premise of living separate and apart for a continuous period of one year with the intent to remain permanently separated.

The first step in pursuing an absolute divorce based on one year’s separation is meeting the residency requirement. At least one spouse must have resided in North Carolina for a minimum of six months prior to filing for divorce. Once this criterion is met, the couple can proceed with the separation period.

During the separation period, the spouses must live separate and apart in different residences. It’s essential to maintain separate households, including separate living quarters, finances, and daily routines. Cohabitation, even for brief periods, can reset the one-year separation period, thus delaying the divorce process.

Moreover, the separation must be continuous without reconciliation attempts or resuming marital relations. Any instances of reconciliation or attempts to reconcile, whether emotional or physical, can restart the one-year separation period. Therefore, clarity and commitment to the separation are crucial to achieving a successful divorce based on this ground.

Documentation and evidence of the separation period may be required when filing for divorce. This can include lease agreements, utility bills, bank statements, and witness affidavits confirming the separate living arrangements and intentions to remain permanently separated.

Once the one-year separation period is completed, either spouse can file for an absolute divorce. The filing spouse (plaintiff) must submit a complaint for divorce to the appropriate court, along with supporting documentation and the required filing fees. The defendant spouse must be served with a copy of the complaint and given an opportunity to respond.

Once the absolute divorce is granted by the court, both spouses are free to remarry or pursue other legal relationships. It’s important to note that while an absolute divorce legally ends the marriage, it does not automatically address issues such as property division, alimony, or child custody. Separate legal proceedings may be necessary to resolve these matters.

In conclusion, obtaining an absolute divorce based on one year’s separation in North Carolina requires strict adherence to the legal requirements and a clear demonstration of the intention to permanently separate. By understanding and following the applicable laws and procedures, couples can navigate the divorce process effectively and move forward with their lives.