Legal separation in North Carolina occurs on the date you and your spouse move into separate residences with the intent to continue living separate and apart from each other.
Whether or not you can or should move out of the house is an issue that deserves careful consideration and discussion. Moving out without a clear plan or strategy can potentially have negative legal ramifications on your case.
In preparing for separation and divorce, it is very important to gather the records you need to get a clear picture of the family finances, assets and liabilities. First, collect the documents necessary to determine family income and expenses, including tax returns, paystubs, bank statements, and credit card statements. In addition, gather documents about your assets and debts, including investment or other financial account statements, appraisals of real or personal property, and statements for retirement accounts. If you or your spouse own a business, locate the corporate tax returns, profit and loss statements, balance sheets and shareholder agreements.
If you suspect your spouse is having an adulterous affair, collect documentation that may evidence the affair, including detailed cell phone records. Do not access any computers or accounts that are password protected or to which your spouse has not authorized access. Do not use computer spyware to intercept email messages; this is illegal, and this evidence will not be admissible in court. Evidence can also be obtained by a private detective, from journals, diaries, or day planners kept by your spouse, as well as from credit card statements which track your spouse’s expenditures.
With regard to the impact of a separation on your children, it is a good idea to consult with a child psychologist who can help you communicate with your children about the separation in a straightforward and reassuring way. Above all, tell your children you love them and acknowledge any feelings they may express about the situation.