Q: Is it legal to back date a separation in NC to divorce prior to one year apart?
Intentionally making false statement of facts to a court is unlawful. In North Carolina, to be eligible for a divorce, spouses must have been separated for at least one year (with the intent to remain separate and apart). To be valid, a divorce complaint cannot be filed before the spouses are actually eligible for a divorce. If a court grants a divorce when the spouses weren't eligible or the complaint was otherwise invalid, the divorce can be voided.
North Carolina doesn't officially recognize "legal separation" like some states. But in certain special circumstances, it does recognize "divorce from bed and board," which is similar to legal separation.
Divorce really only ends a marriage. But spouses don't necessarily have to wait until they're eligible for divorce to deal with most other issues related to the marriage. They may be able to file for or enter into agreements addressing issues like child custody, child support, spousal support, and division of property long before they have been separated for at least a year.
If you are considering a divorce or need assistance with legal issues related to a marriage, you might start by consulting with a knowledgeable family law attorney.
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