For couples who find themselves on the brink of divorce, a legal separation may be the better option.
A separation agreement is a legally binding contract that covers many of the same issues you might otherwise handle in court, including property division, spousal support, and initial child custody or child support issues.
A legal separation can provide relief for married partners who need some time to breathe and space to sort out their marital issues.
Let us help you find your footing—call a Kernersville separation agreements lawyer today.
In North Carolina, a couple is considered married until they go through final divorce proceedings, but courts do recognize legal separations.
For married couples in North Carolina, there are two ways to do so.
First is when one spouse moves out and no longer lives/resides at the marital residence AND has done so with the intent not to return to the marriage. This is the usual method of separation.
However, if one spouse cannot move out of the house and the other spouse refuses, there is an option known as divorce from bed and board. This is different from an absolute divorce as it does not bring the marriage to a formal end. However, the requirements for divorce from bed and board are strict, and litigation can be expensive, making the process relatively uncommon.
The issue with a divorce from bed and board is that one spouse must establish the other was at fault for the separation. This could be done by demonstrating that your former spouse abandoned their family, committed adultery, or is involved in excessive drug use.
While state law might recognize legal separation, it doesn’t provide for the division of marital property or support—but couples can reach written agreements that the courts can sign off on between spouses who no longer live together.
Here are a few reasons why separation agreements benefit you.
Spouses can agree on a separation agreement with a competent lawyer at Apple Payne Law, or the court will have the final say. A separation agreement prevents the parties from having to get a judge or the courts involved—in addition to being way less stressful!
With one of the spouses moving out of the marital home, the circumstances in the marriage will change dramatically. A separation agreement will often address the financial issues involved with a spouse securing a new place to live, such as spousal support, alimony, or dealing with the equity from the marital residence.
Separation agreements could also cover child support or custody issues. Both parties may negotiate the terms and present an agreement to the court, but if you go to court, the judge must act in the child’s best interests. Here again, a custody agreement prevents the parties from getting a judge or the courts involved – in addition to being way less stressful for both parents and children.
A separation agreement is also useful in the early stages of the divorce process. Many couples who have already decided to divorce might agree to execute a separation agreement to set some terms before separation – which is allowed under North Carolina law as long as the parties separate within a short time after that.
Additionally, the terms written into these separation agreements may be included in the final divorce decree. Separation agreements for spouses going through the divorce process are key in helping ensure that anything that comes up during separation and after divorce is taken care of.
There are serious pros and cons to including a separation agreement in your final divorce decree. Even if you reached your agreement without legal representation, you should have a divorce attorney review your agreement before incorporating it into the divorce decree.
Our qualified divorce lawyers at Apple Payne Law can ensure your contract covers everything important to your family. Our attorneys are well-versed in separation agreements and family law litigation and can provide insight into whether a separation is right for you.
If you are separating from your spouse or considering divorce, a separation agreement may certainly be in your best interests.
Working out these critical issues with your spouse can help avoid the costly and arduous process of litigating a divorce, property distribution, alimony, and support.
Let a Kernersville separation agreements lawyer help you understand your legal options.
Conveniently located in Kernersville and Winston, Salem NC, our family law office is prepared to help you with any legal issue you might have. Reach out to Apple Payne Law for your confidential consultation today.
Is it worth getting a separation agreement?
Not everyone needs a separation agreement, but these can be very helpful if you plan on divorcing. Separation agreements can be formal or informal, but to be safe, you should keep all your agreements in writing.
How do you legally bind a separation agreement?
To establish legally binding separation agreements, the couple must sign and notarize the document with a witness present.
What voids a separation agreement?
Separation agreements need to exist in full, fair, and voluntary form. The court could throw the document out upon proof that the parties were physically, verbally, or psychologically threatened during the negotiation or before signing the agreement.
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