Will Having Sex With My Spouse Void Our Legal Separation?

Breaking up is hard to do. Many couples separate and get back together several times before the final break. As couples struggle with the conflicts of separation, sexual relations may be one way they test the water to decide if they want to salvage the marital relationship.

North Carolina law requires that parties be separated for one year before an action can be filed for absolute divorce. Casual or isolated incidents of post separation sex with your spouse may lead to an emotional roller coaster, but such conduct alone will not toll the statutory period for filing for divorce based on a one-year separation.

Sexual intercourse, overnight stays, and out of town trips between spouses who are separated can sometimes blur the line as to when the date of separation occurred, especially if one party believes that such contact is made in an effort to reconcile. If a party disputes the date of separation on the basis of reconciliation, then the court considers whether there was a voluntary renewal of the marital relationship based on the totality of the circumstances. Two main lines of inquiry that the court examines in determining whether there was a resumption of the marital relationship are whether (1) the parties held themselves out to others as a married couple and (2) the parties mutually intended to reconcile.

This article is for information purposes only and is not to be considered or substituted as legal advice. The information in this article is based on North Carolina state laws in effect at the time of posting.

Firm Awards

Best Lawyers Award Badge
Best Lawyers Award Badge
Best Lawyers Award Badge
Best Lawyers Award Badge