A separation agreement allows two married people who do not want to get divorced to live legally separated lives. A couple may prefer to speak with a separation agreement lawyer rather than a divorce lawyer. In a legal separation, the spouses divide their marital property and agree about what rights and responsibilities will exist after separation and divorce. It is also more cost-effective. A legal separation also allows a spouse to continue receiving health care through the other spouse’s employment.
Discuss Your Case With a Separation Agreement Lawyer in New Bern, North Carolina
Are you interested in pursuing a legal separation? If so, the skilled family law attorneys at Greene Crow & Smith are here to help. You do not have to handle all of the complexities of creating a separation agreement alone. Separation Agreements are legally binding, and it’s essential that you consult with an attorney before signing. Contact Greene Crow & Smith today to learn more about our legal services.
What Is a Separation Agreement?
A separation agreement is a binding legal document between the two spouses. Before a married couple can sign a one, they must be physically separated or intend to separate promptly after signing the agreement. Most couples sign a separation agreement as a way to prepare for getting divorced. As a result, separation agreements typically involve a negotiation period.
The spouses will negotiate the terms and conditions of the separation agreement until they can reach an agreement. In other cases, a couple who knows they will be divorcing starts drafting an agreement towards the end of their divorce as a means to make their final divorce more peaceful. The terms of the separation agreement are not suggestions. Separation agreements are legally binding contracts. Both spouses must abide by the separation agreement once it is signed, or they risk significant consequences.
Eligibility Requirements for Separation Agreements
In North Carolina, legal separation occurs when a married couple no longer lives in the same house. The couple must have intentions of permanently living apart. A couple cannot sign an agreement if they intend to live in the same household, only live apart for a brief time frame, or frequently visit and go out in public with their spouse. The couple must reside under separate roofs in separate locations during the separation agreement.
The Benefits of Legal Separation in North Carolina
Working with an attorney to negotiate and draft a separation agreement has many benefits. For example, drafting a separation agreement typically saves both spouses time, stress, and money. Divorce-related issues, including child custody, property division, and alimony, can be peacefully resolved without litigation during the negotiation process. Going through a family court to resolve conflicts is usually more expensive and time-consuming.
Negotiating your separation agreement allows each spouse to consider their own goals and determine their outcomes. Separation agreements allow for a more private, effective, and less costly resolution of conflicts, promoting a more peaceful and less litigious divorce. In some cases, a couple will prefer a legal separation due to their religious beliefs. Signing a separation agreement allows the couple to live separately while avoiding a final divorce.
The Terms of a Separation Agreement
A separation agreement can be flexible, and it can contain any terms to which both spouses agree. In other words, no two separation agreements will be exactly the same. Instead, couples can amicably determine as much or as little through mediated communication. Most separation agreements include the following types of provisions.
If the spouses own their home jointly, the agreement will typically state which spouse will be granted ownership of the house. It will also state whether or not the house will be sold and what price one spouse can pay the other spouse in exchange for owning the property outright. No agreement usually outlines which spouse is allowed to remain living in the home.
Personal Property and Debt Distribution
Separation agreements frequently contain provisions about how the spouses will divide their property. The agreement can outline which spouse will receive furniture, electronics, motor vehicles, and other personal property. The separation agreement may also state which spouse should receive intangible property, such as bonds, stocks, and savings accounts. Separation agreements can also detail which spouse is responsible for paying for current or future debts.
Child Custody and Child Support
Child custody and child support matters can be among the most contentious legal separation or divorce issues. Many spouses will include child custody and child support plans in their separation agreement. The agreement may establish guidelines regarding the physical and legal custody of the children and visitation rights and schedules.
The agreement may include provisions on the amount of child support one parent must pay and the penalties involved for failure to pay on time. The terms regarding child support and child custody can be as broad or specific as the parties would like to make them. Some separation agreements include very detailed plans that state when each child will spend the holidays or vacations with each parent.
Finally, many separation agreements include an alimony arrangement. Both parties should agree on when the alimony will be paid, how much alimony will be paid, and the dates on which alimony should be paid. The agreement may also contain a provision regarding the penalties for late alimony payments and when the alimony arrangement will end.
Contact a Legal Separation Agreement Attorney in New Bern Today
Are you interested in pursuing a separation agreement in North Carolina? One of the experienced attorneys at Greene Crow & Smith can help you negotiate and draft an agreement that will protect you and meet your goals. Our legal team understands all of the legal complexities involved with North Carolina separation agreements. We will carefully draft an agreement and ensure that the terms are in your best interest. Don’t try to handle your separation agreement alone. Contact our experienced team of family law attorneys today.
Greene Crow & Smith, PA help residents of NC with separation agreements including those located in New Bern, Pamlico County, and Craven County.