February 6, 2018
After a period of separation, some married couples decide to give their marriage another chance. If you end your separation and remain married, it’s important to be aware of the legal impact of this decision.
If you later decide to separate again and get divorced, your reconciliation could impact some aspects of your divorce. You may have to endure another separation period, and the agreements you made during your separation may remain valid and affect the terms of a future divorce settlement. Because of this, you should proceed carefully and consult a divorce attorney whenever considering a marital reconciliation.
Reconciliation Ends the Separation Period
If you and your spouse reconcile, your separation period officially ends. You will have to start from zero if you later decide to separate again.
North Carolina law requires one year of separation before you can get divorced. Even if you were separated for over a year and then reconciled, you will have to live separate for another full year if you later decide to get divorced.
The law will look at all of the circumstances to determine if you actually reconciled your marriage. If you engaged in isolated acts of sexual intercourse with your spouse, this alone won’t constitute a marital reconciliation. However, it could be used as evidence of a resumption of your marriage.
Agreements Made During Your Separation Remain Valid
In general, any agreements you made during your separation remain valid. This could be important if you signed a postnuptial agreement that settled any issues related to property distribution or alimony payments.
For example, let’s say you signed an agreement waiving your right to receive alimony and the agreement was properly executed. If you and your spouse decide to resume your marriage, that agreement could continue to be legally binding. Even if you divorce many years later, that agreement could interfere with your right to receive alimony payments.
Before you sign any postnuptial agreements or separation agreements, make sure you consult with a family law attorney. It’s also a good idea to talk to a divorce attorney before deciding to your resume your marriage to make sure you under the legal consequences of your actions.
King Law handles family law matters in North and South Carolina, including divorce, alimony, and child support cases. Follow us on Facebook for more information and updates on family law issues.