What “Living Separate and Apart” really means

To qualify for the “year of separation,” you and your spouse must live “separate and apart” for the 12 months. You may not simply stop having sexual relations and continue living in the house in separate rooms. Separate and apart means ceasing cohabitation which includes residing in different living quarters.

Previously in North Carolina law, separated couples who engaged in sexual intercourse re-set their 12-month year of separation time clock, but current law re-defines resuming marital relations to be a “voluntary renewal of the husband and wife relationship, as shown by the totality of the circumstances. Isolated incidents of sexual intercourse between the parties shall not constitute resumption of marital relations.”