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Six Important Things to Know About Separation Agreements

If you are contemplating getting divorced in North Carolina, you should know that you must be separated for a year before you can file for divorce. There is no formal process for separation. You simply need to live in separate homes for a year with the intention on the part of at least one of the spouses to get divorced. North Carolina is a no-fault divorce state, so there is no requirement that both parties intend to divorce. Nothing states “intent to divorce” quite like a written document setting forth the terms of your separation pending divorce. If you’re thinking about a separation agreement, there are some things you should know first:

  • You don’t need one to actually separate. Just tell your spouse you want a divorce, live someplace else for a year, and leave the details to the divorce court.
  • There are no set requirements for a separation agreement. It can be whatever you want it to be. It is simply a contract between you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse setting forth the terms of your separation, or more if that’s what you want the agreement to do. At a minimum, it establishes that you are separated as of a certain date and that at least one of you intends to seek a divorce, thereby simplifying meeting the legal requirements for a one-year separation before filing for a divorce.
  • If you want to get a separation agreement, you probably should talk to a lawyer – both of you should. Most often, lawyers will negotiate and draft the separation agreement based on the stated desires of their clients.
  • All you need for a valid separation agreement is a written document, signed by both spouses, with the signatures notarized. The contents of the agreement are up to you.
  • Your separation agreement can set forth terms of child custody while you are waiting out your one-year separation prior to filing for divorce.
  • Your separation agreement also can set for the terms of child support that will apply during that one-year wait.

If You’re Contemplating a Separation Agreement, You Should Consult with A Family Law Attorney

If you find you are getting divorced and have questions about separation agreements, talk to the attorneys of Remington & Dixon. We can be reached online or by phone at (704) 247-7110.

Separation Agreement FAQs

What Is Post-Separation Support?

Post-separation support is nothing more than an agreement or court order that one spouse will make support payments to the other during the separation period. Such payments typically occur when one spouse earns a large majority or all of the household income. Post-separation support ends when the divorce is final.

If My Separation Agreement Has Child Custody Terms, Will The Court Adopt Those Terms in My Divorce?

The parties can agree whether custody terms included in a separation agreement will be adopted into a court order or their divorce judgment.

Do My Separation Agreement’s Child Support Provisions Have To Meet State Guidelines?

Your divorce judge has to consider the law and state minimum child support obligation guidelines. You don’t. You and your spouse can agree to whatever level of child support payments you like in your separation agreement.

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