Separation and Separation Agreements
When am I legally separated for purposes of divorce?
The one year period of separation required in North Carolina before you can file for divorce begins to run when a husband or wife moves into a separate residence with the intention not to resume the marital relationship. It does not occur when one spouse sleeps in a separate bedroom or another part of the house. A Separation Agreement is not required for a couple to be “separated.”
Do I need a Separation Agreement?
Separation Agreements are helpful in many cases and can be used to outline property division, and to set out postseparation support and alimony provisions, child custody arrangements, and the amount of child support that will be paid. Once signed by both parties, these Separation and Property Settlement Agreements (as they are commonly called in North Carolina) are as binding as contracts. That being said, it is very important to understand these agreements before signing them and, ideally, you should have an attorney review it on your behalf before signing it.
A Separation Agreement keeps your information private
North Carolina, unlike most other states, allows parties to keep support, property division, and custody issues private by allowing for separation agreements that do not need the approval of the Court. This allows parties to privately negotiate and enter into an agreement that does not have to be filed into the court record which would make the information publicly available. We are often asked if the agreement needs to be recorded with the Register of Deeds to be valid. These agreements do not need to be filed at the Register of Deeds in order to be enforceable.
We would be happy to draft a Separation Agreement for you OR review one that you already have drafted or that your spouse has presented you with
At Hager Divorce & Family Law, our lawyers have considerable experience in negotiating and drafting Separation and Property Settlement Agreements for your divorce. We would also be happy to review an agreement that has been drafted by another attorney on behalf of your spouse or review and advise you as to a separation agreement that you drafted yourself or obtained on the internet. You can fax or email us your agreement when you set up an appointment so that we can review it and be ready to advise you during your consultation.
You cannot put the Judgment of Divorce in a Separation Agreement
The only issue pertaining to the end of a marriage that cannot be contained in a separation agreement is the divorce itself. You can file for divorce after at least one year of continuous separation in North Carolina.
We would be happy to go to court on your behalf to obtain your divorce once the year’s separation period has passed or we can draft the paperwork for you to file it on your own at a reduced rate.
Call us today if you have any questions about your separation. We will be happy to speak with you by phone and give you general information and guidance.