Divorces in North Carolina differ from dissolutions of marriage in many other parts of the U.S. If you're considering filing for divorce in NC, you've probably heard the term "free trader agreement" here and there, but may not understand how it relates to your divorce - or if you need one.
Today, we're covering everything you need to know about free trader agreements, so you can pursue the best possible outcome in your divorce. To schedule a consultation with our team, contact us online or via phone at (704) 659-0007.
The Purpose of a Free Trader Agreement
Essentially a free trader agreement enables a person who is legally separated from their spouse to purchase property without putting their spouse on the deed.
For example, let's say that you and your partner separate, and you decide to buy a new home while separated. Normally, as long as you are legally married - even if you are separated - your spouse would need to put their name on the deed to the new property.
A free trader agreement enables you to circumvent these requirements, allowing you to purchase the property without your spouse's involvement.
Why Are Free Trader Agreements Important?
North Carolina has different divorce laws than many other states. In North Carolina, to obtain a divorce in most cases, you must be separated from your spouse for a year and a day prior to filing for divorce.
However, couples may not cohabitate while separated. As a result, one party almost always finds themselves needing to buy into a lease or purchase a deed for new property while separated.
Fiduciary duty typically prevents separated spouses from purchasing or selling property while separated. A free trader agreement, as illustrated above, enables one spouse to circumvent those requirements.
What Do I Need to Get a Free Trader Agreement?
Consult your divorce attorney - they'll help you work with your spouse to draft an equitable free trader agreement that meets the needs of both parties.
You may want to incorporate a memorandum of separation clause within your free trader agreement.
Generally, you do not need a formal separation agreement to be considered legally separated in North Carolina. To be legally separated, you simply need to live in different homes, and at least one party must intend the separation to be permanent (in other words, result in the dissolution of the marriage).
However, getting a separation agreement that details what each party can or cannot do while separated may be beneficial to both parties. Separation agreements often include details for processes such as property division, spousal and child support, and child custody.
If you can't form a free trader agreement immediately, you can incorporate a free trader provision into your separation agreement and then include a memorandum of separation clause within the separation agreement. The memorandum binds both parties to sign an official free trader agreement at a later date. This enables the parties to move forward with their separation without having an official free trader agreement finalized.
At Rech Law, PC, our team can help you form a free trader agreement that suits your needs. To schedule a consultation with our team, contact us online or via phone at (704) 659-0007.