Can a Marriage Resume After Separation?

You can resume your marriage at any time during the one-year separation period required by North Carolina law. As long as your divorce hasn’t been finalized, you are still legally married and can resume your marriage.

However, you should understand the consequences of this resumption of marital relations in case you once again seek a divorce.

Resumption of Marital Relations

North Carolina law defines a resumption of marital relations based on the totality of the circumstances. On one end of the spectrum are isolated acts of sexual intercourse between the separated individuals. The law specifically states that this will not constitute a resumption of your marriage.

Other actions will almost definitely end your separation. If you move back in with your spouse, you will no longer be living “separate and apart” as required by North Carolina law. Your one-year separation period will terminate and your marriage will resume.

If you and your spouse are attempting to reconcile, but haven’t moved back in together, your specific situation may or may not constitute a resumption of marital relations. Consult a King Law divorce attorney for assistance and advice before you decide to officially end your separation or if you aren’t sure whether you’ve actually resumed your marital relations.

You won’t need to go to court or file any legal documents if you do decide to resume your marriage because you were never legally divorced.

Consequences of Resuming Your Marriage

Once you resume your marriage, your separation period ends. If you later decide to separate again, you’ll have to start over and live separate and apart for one year.

You can’t tack on two different separation periods. If you were separated for 11 months, then resumed your marriage, you’ll need to be separated for an additional 12 months if you later decide to get divorced. However, you may decide it’s worth this risk to give your marriage another chance.

If a court order or agreement awarded alimony or post-separation support to the dependent spouse, the supporting spouse can request a termination of this order due to a resumption of marital relations.

Talk to your divorce attorney to make sure you understand the legal ramifications of resuming your marriage.

At King Law Offices, we understand the challenges involved in any family law matter. Our goal is to help guide you through this process and listen to your concerns. Come visit us at one of our multiple office locations throughout North and South Carolina or give us a call at 888-748-5464 (KING) to schedule a consultation.

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