The Law offices of Arnold & Smith - John Price Carr House
You cannot reason with the unreasonable.
When it is time to fight,
we fight to win.

What Happens if I Get Back Together with My Ex During the Separation Period in North Carolina?

North Carolina is famous for its mandatory, one-year separation period that all spouses must go through if they want to move forward with their divorces. A lot can happen during that 12-month period, and some couples might consider getting back together. But what happens if this actually happens? How will this affect your pending divorce? What happens if an “on-and-off” relationship develops in which neither spouse really knows whether they want to continue being together on a long-term basis? There are many potential outcomes when dealing with this situation:

North Carolina Wants You to Get Back Together

The state of North Carolina actually wants you to get back together during this one-year waiting period. In fact, the one-year period was created for this very reason. The logic is that when faced with 12 months of delays, many spouses will eventually come to their senses and call off the divorce. In the eyes of the Tar Heel State, this promotes greater stability within marriages – thereby strengthening family units and, in turn, the entire society. This means that when you get back together with your spouse during the waiting period, you have not done anything wrong – and the state sees this as a victory.

What if I Do Not Actually Want to Be with My Spouse Long-Term?

If you know that you no longer want to be with your spouse on a long-term basis, it is important to avoid getting back together. A divorce becomes impossible if you are constantly going back and forth, as cohabitation and resumption of marital duties will “reset” the one-year waiting period. In other words, you will go right back to square one – and you will need to begin the entire process over again. This is especially true if your spouse does not actually want to get divorced, as they will gladly point out that this resumption of marital duties has occurred in an effort to keep the marriage going.

What if it Was Just a Brief Fling?

It is important to define “getting back together” in clear terms. In the eyes of the court, a brief fling or a “one-night stand” with your ex does not constitute the resumption of marital duties. As a result, you can continue with your separation period without going back to square one. That said, you need to be careful – and it is best to keep your distance if you are serious about pursuing a divorce.

Even if you get back together for a few days, the court may conclude that the marriage has resumed. This is especially true if you present yourself as a couple in public and you are financially codependent. For example, you might attend your child’s play as a couple – with other parents seeing you displaying acts of affection such as holding hands or hugging. You might also contribute to living costs, such as rent or groceries. These actions can be traced and documented, and they may cause issues for your pending divorce.

What if Someone Cheated?

If the entire reason for the divorce was infidelity, getting back together can cause additional issues for a pending divorce. In North Carolina, you may no longer need to pay alimony if your spouse cheated. However, if you resume intimacy with your spouse during the marriage with knowledge that your spouse cheated– even briefly – the court will automatically see this as forgiveness on your part. In other words, the courts will assume that you did not really think your spouse’s cheating was important, and they will once again task you with paying alimony if your divorce moves forward. Even a single “one-night stand” can facilitate this change, so you need to be careful if you like the idea of not paying alimony for years to someone who cheated on you.

Where Can I Find a Divorce Attorney in North Carolina?

If you have been searching for a divorce attorney in North Carolina, look no further than Arnold & Smith, PLLC. We know that relationships can often develop in complex ways, and it can be difficult to determine how this affects the legal aspects of a divorce. During your consultation, we will assess your unique circumstances and determine the best route forward. From there, you can get started with an effective action plan while ensuring that your goals are met. Book your consultation today to get started.