What Happens if You Never Get Divorced in North Carolina?

Many couples ask themselves whether divorce is even truly necessary in North Carolina. What if you simply never go through with it? What happens if you just break up with your spouse, stop seeing them, and continue on with your life as normal? While most people automatically come to the conclusion that divorce is required, a few spouses will always ask questions. Questioning the “status quo” is not always a bad thing, and it is a good sign if you are utilizing your critical thinking skills to assess how our society works.

However, failing to obtain a divorce can lead to serious consequences down the road, and this is something you should be aware of. Divorce definitely has its benefits, and if you choose to simply ignore this option, you may experience considerable limitations in your later life.

If you are looking for a legal professional who can explain the benefits of divorce in a clear, concise manner, it is always a good idea to get in touch with a qualified, experienced divorce attorney in North Carolina. Your lawyer can explain to you why divorce matters. They can also make you aware of the negative consequences should you fail to obtain a divorce. Once you are clear on this, your attorney can then lead you towards a positive legal outcome.

North Carolina Does Not Recognize Legal Separation

Unlike many other states, North Carolina does not permit or recognize legal separation. This means that separating without getting divorced is even more unfeasible in the Tar Heel State than usual. In states where legal separation is recognized, a couple could potentially live apart for many years without ever going through with a divorce. You only have a few options when it comes to divorcing in North Carolina. You can either file for an absolute divorce after one year of separation, or you can file for a divorce from bed and board.

You Need to Divorce if You Plan to Remarry

One of the biggest problems with not getting divorced is the fact that it prevents you from remarrying. Essentially, you need to end one marriage before you begin a new one. In order to end your marriage, you must do so through the officially recognized legal process of divorce.

If you try to remarry without getting divorced, you may face serious legal consequences. The most serious consequence is a bigamy conviction. This is a Class I felony, which means that you may spend up to a year in prison if convicted.

In addition, you may face charges of adultery, which is also a crime in North Carolina. Since you never obtained a divorce, someone could accuse you of cheating on your spouse if you pursue another relationship. Not only is this a misdemeanor, but an adultery conviction could also place you at a disadvantage if you later decide to get a divorce.

You Need to Take Your Estate Plan Into Account

Separating without getting a divorce could also have a serious impact on your estate plan. If you never get divorced, a large portion of your wealth may pass to your estranged spouse after your passing, even if you no longer have a relationship with them. This may happen in a number of ways. First of all, your spouse may be listed as a beneficiary on your will, a trust, or your life insurance policy. If you never remove your spouse’s name, they could inherit more of your estate than you intended.

Second of all, an estranged spouse might also inherit large sums due to the intestate process. If you are still technically married to your spouse and you never write a will, the government in North Carolina will follow a set of rules when it comes to distributing your property among your beneficiaries. Your spouse is almost always the first one to receive the lion’s share of your wealth. This could be an extremely negative outcome for the rest of your family, including your children.

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today

If you have been searching the North Carolina area for a divorce attorney, look no further than Arnold & Smith, PLLC. We have helped numerous individuals in North Carolina pursue their divorce in an efficient, confident, and dignified manner. Even though divorce can be a daunting prospect for many spouses, it is something you really need to go through with. Yes, it can be stressful and time-consuming, but the alternative is much worse. Book your consultation today, and we can show you how easy a divorce can be.