The State of North Carolina requires that all married persons who are seeking a divorce to have been separated for at least one year before a divorce can be granted. This one year time frame is to allow a “cooling down” period between the couple and a chance for reconciliation.
If you find that you are now separated from your spouse, there are several questions that you may have about the separation and the future divorce. In an effort to help people understand North Carolina laws regarding separation, a downtown separation law office has answered some of the most frequently asked questions about this subject.
What Is The Legal Definition Of Separation?
Under the law, separation means that the married couple is now living in two separate residences. In addition, there must be the intent by at least one of the parties that the separation is permanent.
Do I Need A Separation Agreement?
You are not required by law to have a separation agreement. However, many couples who have their divorce attorney prepare a separation agreement find that when the divorce takes place it processes very smoothly. The separation agreement establishes most of the rights and responsibilities of both parties prior to the divorce, making the finalization of the divorce simple.
What Issues Are Included In A Typical Separation Agreement?
Depending on the facts of your case, your NC separation attorney will most likely include child and spousal support issues, child custody, debt and personal property divisions and may even include future financial issues such as retirement benefits. Each case is different, so your divorce attorney will customize the document to fit your needs.
Is A Separation Agreement Required In North Carolina?
No. These documents are just recommended so that the divorce process is easier on both parties. However, these documents can help tremendously settle disputes over custody, assets, and obligations.
Can I Be Compelled To Sign A Separation Agreement?
No. A separation agreement is a contract and can only be entered into legally if you chose to do so willingly. If you are not sure if you should enter into this type of agreement with your former spouse, have your NC separation attorney review the document to see if it is in your best interest.
Do I Need An Attorney To Create A Separation Agreement?
While it is not mandatory to have an attorney create the agreement, it is always in your best interest. Your attorney will be familiar with all of the laws that make the contract legal in North Carolina. Your lawyer will also ensure that the document serves your best interest and that you are treated fairly in the separation.
If you need help with a separation or divorce, you are encouraged to contact our Concord separation law office for legal representation.