You and your spouse have decided to part ways. Although the situation is sad, the two of you fortunately agree on a lot when it comes to who should get what. North Carolina does not require a separation agreement prior to getting a divorce, which requires that you wait a year and a day from the date of separation, but investing in a lawyer to draft a separation agreement could save a lot of time and money down the line. But what can a separation agreement actually do?
A separation agreement save money. The key aspect of a separation agreement in North Carolina is that it allows separated spouses to come to an agreement on various things without court involvement. It is often court filing fees, court costs, and time spent in court by an attorney that will eat up one’s money. Handling various matters associated with divorce in court may require hours of time in the court room, back and forth with multiple attorneys, and drafting of various motions and other court documents. Contrast this with a separation agreement—a meeting with the attorney to discuss what is agreed upon by the separated spouses, the attorney drafts the agreement, the parties review and sign, and then the agreement is done. Separation agreements can be a much more affordable alternative to disputing things and having them handled in court—the key, though, is that the separated spouses must agree on things. But what can the parties agree on that can be put into the agreement?
Alimony is one thing the parties might agree on. If a spouse is willing to pay the other, then the agreement can include a provision regarding aspects of alimony such as amount, duration, and conditions that will terminate the alimony payments. These provisions can be structured with a lot of flexibility to suit the individual needs and wants of both parties.
Child custody and support are other big aspects of separation that the parties can agree to in writing. Whatever the situation, the parties are able to dictate who will have which child on which day, the times that the children will be picked up and where, as well as how holidays will be split. It is common for the big holidays to be split between each parent, with who getting which holiday swapping every year. Child support payments, like alimony, are also something that can be agreed upon. A separation agreement with these provisions could be a superior alternative to a court order in situations where the parties can agree because no one, not even your attorney, can predict exactly what the judge will order in terms of support and custody. In addition to child custody and support, the parties can also agree to fund various insurance policies, or even a child’s college education.
Property and debt obligations are also appropriate provisions to include in a separation agreement. Whether it’s real property, personal property, intangible property such as a bank account, or an associated debt, the parties can provide for how the property and any debts will be split. It is common for the spouses to keep things that were primarily used by them, and any accompanying debts alongside it, but a supporting spouse may choose to take on the dependent spouse’s car payment or the like, as well.
These provisions are not exhaustive but are some of the most common provisions that separated spouses will want to add to avoid the oftentimes time consuming and costly court process. Drafting a proper separation agreement with the right provisions and the right words can be a challenge, and making sure that the provisions are set up in a way that is fair to both parties can present its own difficulties. If you are interested in getting a separation agreement, hiring an attorney can ensure that the separation agreement is set up properly with the right provisions in place while keeping your best interests in mind.
At King Law Offices, we understand the challenges involved in any family law matter. Our goal is to help guide you through this process and listen to your concerns. Contact King Law at 888-748-KING (5464) for a consultation. We have offices located across western North Carolina and upstate South Carolina. We are here to serve you and to guide you as we navigate this journey together.