In North Carolina, a married couple must live separately for 12 months prior to filing for divorce. During this time, it’s important to protect your interests, and a separation agreement can help do this. Often used to outline property division, child custody arrangements, and financial issues during the 12-month period, our separation agreement lawyers in Raleigh have worked with couples to create mutually beneficial agreements, and we have the skills, experience, and knowledge to ensure your separation agreement is drafted with your best interests in mind.
Understanding Separation Agreements
First, it’s important to realize that while there is no law requiring a separation agreement, they can be beneficial tools to outline how debts, property, custody, and support are handled. For example, claiming a child on one spouse’s taxes, determining who pays the mortgage and upkeep on a jointly owned house, and paying for mutual credit card debts can all be included in the agreement.
Both parties must sign the contract voluntarily, without coercion or fraud, and for it to be valid, both parties must sign the contract and have their signatures notarized.
While this is not the divorce settlement, if both parties are fine with how the separation agreement works, they can use it as the foundation of their divorce settlement. This saves time and money, and prevents the stress of a lengthy, acrimonious legal battle.
Is a Separation Agreement Right for You?
Our separation agreement lawyers recommend this option in cases where there is a certain level of trust between the parties and your spouse is a responsible individual with good credit. If you can sit down with your spouse and work together to negotiate an agreement and feel confident he or she will hold up their end of the deal, then a separation agreement can be highly beneficial. On the other hand, if you and your spouse can’t see eye-to-eye, they don’t pay their bills or are generally untrustworthy, the likelihood they will honor the contract.
Child Custody and Support in Separation Contracts
While many of these contracts do contain sections on child custody, it’s important to note that these provisions are not legally binding, nor are they enforced by police. The same goes for child support – there’s no wage garnishment or other penalties for not paying an agreed upon sum. However, if you do have this in your separation agreement, and your spouse agrees and complies, it can cut down on confusion during the upheaval of the separation period.
Schedule a Consultation with Our Separation Agreement Lawyers in Raleigh
Regardless of what your case involves, a family law attorney is invaluable when it comes to resolving marital claims and formalizing separation agreements. At the Doyle Law Group, we have been helping clients resolve and settle divorce claims for over 20 years. To learn more about separation agreements in North Carolina, call (919) 301-8843 or complete the form below.