North Carolina has unique divorce laws that make getting a divorce more complex than in many other states. For example, to divorce in North Carolina, you must be separated from your spouse for a year and a day before you can finalize the dissolution of your marriage. Understanding the role of the separation agreement in your divorce case can help you prepare for your divorce and obtain the best outcome in your family law dispute.
At Rech Law, P.C., we know North Carolina divorce law like the back of our hand.
Contact us online or via phone at (704) 659-0007 to schedule a consultation with our team and start drafting the perfect separation agreement for your divorce today.
I Need a Separation Agreement?
If you're just learning about divorce laws in North Carolina, you may not even be aware that you need a separation agreement to begin dissolving your marriage.
North Carolina has unique divorce laws compared to many other states. In North Carolina, you cannot finalize your divorce until you have been separated from your spouse for at least a year and a day. That means living in separate residences for that amount of time and executing a separation agreement at least a year and a day before filing for divorce.
If your situation is unique and you can't wait to file for divorce (for example, if domestic violence makes it unsafe for you to live with your spouse), you can file for a divorce from bed and board.
However, the majority of North Carolina residents who wish to obtain a divorce must execute a separation agreement before being able to legally dissolve their marriage.
What's In a Separation Agreement?
Separation agreements in North Carolina cover the same topics as divorce decrees and agreements in other states.
In your separation agreement, you will include terms for:
- How you and your spouse will divide the property you own together;
- Whether one party should pay the other alimony (and if so, how much);
- A child custody arrangement if you share children with your partner, and;
- Whether one party should pay for child support (depending on the custody arrangement and the finances of each party).
Separation agreements are legally binding contracts, which means you or your spouse could face legal penalties if either of you fails to comply with the agreement.
You should work with a separation agreement lawyer while drafting your separation agreement. Your attorney will protect your rights and attempt to work with your spouse's legal counsel to develop an equitable separation agreement that benefits both parties and makes the eventual divorce easier.
To finalize your separation agreement, you must execute it in court. The court probably will not execute your separation unless you are already living apart from your spouse or have made arrangements to live apart directly following the agreement's execution.
Can I Date While Separated?
One of the most common questions people have about separation agreements is whether they can date while separated.
Although there's no law against getting into a relationship while you're separated from your spouse, you should consider your options carefully if you want to start dating while separated. Your spouse could use your new relationship to back up any allegations of infidelity they make (if they do allege infidelity) when you go to finalize your divorce. Additionally, dating immediately after separating may not be the best thing to do for your mental health.
At Rech Law, P.C., we'll work with you to develop a strong separation agreement that defends your rights and meets your needs.
Contact us online or via phone at (704) 659-0007 to schedule a consultation with one of our separation agreement attorneys and get started.