Charlotte Separation Agreement Lawyers
Assisting clients with legal separation matters in North Carolina
When a couple is ending their marriage, they may consider entering into a separation agreement. A separation agreement isn’t legally required as part of the divorce process, but they can make it easier and less complicated for all parties involved. Separation agreements can help a couple privately resolve their issues around splitting up instead of going to court.
These types of agreements are also an excellent way to protect your rights both during and after the separation and divorce process. Once your separation agreement is signed and notarized, it’s a legal document and can be enforced in court. The Charlotte divorce attorneys at Epperson Law Group, PLLC have decades of experience in family law and can work with you to draft an agreement that meets your specific needs.
What is legal separation in Charlotte?
Under North Carolina G.S. Chapter 50-6, you and your spouse are considered separated if:
- You and your spouse are living separate and apart with the intent that the separation will be permanent
- “Separate and apart” means you and your spouse are in separate residences – sleeping or living in a different room or different area of the house doesn’t qualify as living apart
- A legal document specifying you’re living apart isn’t required
- The date of legal separation begins the day one spouse moves out of the marital home or the couple begins living physically apart
You don’t need a legal separation to get divorced in North Carolina – you only need to show that you and your ex-spouse have been living apart for at least a year.
Why do I need a separation agreement?
Although it’s not required to have a separation agreement, you and your spouse may find it beneficial during the divorce process. Following are some reasons why you may want to choose a separation agreement. Our Charlotte family law attorneys can talk to you more about your specific situation.
- Increased control. Separation agreements are contracts, which means they’re not enforceable until both parties have signed the document. This means that, unlike a court decision, you and your spouse can work on your agreement until it’s mutually beneficial. If you’re unable to come to agreement, you can take your case to court during the divorce process.
- Privacy. The negotiation and signing of separation agreements are private, as they’re a contractual process. This means neither you nor your spouse have to disclose the information in the negotiations to anyone else. Litigation, on the other hand, is public and anyone may have access to the court records.
- Time and money savings. If you and your spouse are in relative agreement about issues regarding your marital split, you may be able to draft your separation document with the assistance of an experienced separation agreement lawyer. This can speed up the timeline of your divorce, as well as avoid long, costly court battles.
What should I put in my Charlotte separation agreement?
If you and your spouse decide on a separation agreement, you should consider a variety of factors to ensure you cover all your bases and protect your legal rights to your children and your assets. Of course, every family’s situation is different, but following are some of the common items people include in their separation agreements:
- Marital residence. If you and your spouse jointly own your marital house, you should address the ownership of the property upon your separation. Who will live where? You may want to sell the home, or one of you may sign your interest over to your ex-spouse as part of spousal support or in exchange for money or other assets.
- Division of property. When you and your spouse are amenable to dividing assets and property out of court, you can do this through your separation agreement. This can include everything from real estate, furniture and cars to IRAs and mutual funds.
- Spousal support and alimony. Separation agreements can also establish spousal support terms and arrangements. Terms should be laid out in detail, including payments schedules and amounts, and any interest charged for late payments. You should also include the date and terms when alimony ends.
- Child custody and child support. You may also set up agreements for child support and custody. It’s important to note, however, that if the court finds this plan not to be in the best interest of the child, they may require the separation agreement be modified. This part of your agreement should detail who has physical and legal custody, who pays support – how much and when, and outlines visitation rights.
Why would I get a separation instead of a divorce?
For some couples, divorce may not be an option. There may be religious issues, concerns about your children, or financial and practical considerations like health insurance coverage. Our Charlotte separation attorneys understand that every situation is unique, and we can help you work through your concerns. A thorough separation agreement can allow you to move on with your life while protecting the people and things most valuable to you.
Can I prepare my Charlotte separation agreement without an attorney?
Anyone can prepare, sign and have a separation agreement formalized on their own. That being said, trying to create your own separation agreement, or downloading a generic form off the internet to do it yourself, will invariably cost you more money and time than if you had sought legal counsel. Remember that these are legally binding documents: if you make a mistake, or accidentally omit important information, you could find yourself subject to fines or even contempt charges. Even under the best of circumstances, you could end up with far less than you wanted because your spouse’s attorney knows the laws, and will use that knowledge to his or her client’s full advantage. Simply changing the document at a later time will be challenging at best, and impossible at worst.
However, with a skilled family law attorney on your side, you can rest assured every detail is considered. If you have children and own any property or assets, your lawyer can assist drafting a document that’s mutually agreeable to everyone involved, while still working to ensure that your best interests and goals are being met.
Reliable Charlotte legal separation attorneys
When you and your spouse have decided to separate, our divorce and separation lawyers can help you protect what matters most. At Epperson Law Group, PLLC, we can assist you in drafting a separation agreement to give you peace of mind and protect your rights during the divorce process. Let us help during this difficult time in your life. You’ll find our offices right off Exit 57 from I-485. To reserve a consultation with one of our lawyers in Charlotte, Boone, or Weddington, please call 704-321-0031 or fill out our contact form.