You may be contemplating divorce but also wonder about separating to see if the marriage can be saved. Your friend was recently in a similar situation and discussed how her separation agreement had given her peace of mind. A separation agreement can be beneficial to settle disputes without resorting to litigation by planning your separation and putting the terms in writing. Doing so can lessen the difficulties that come with separation so you can begin living your life again as soon as possible.
Before searching for “separation lawyers near me,” learn more about separation agreements in North Carolina from a separation lawyer from Speaks Law Firm, PC Family Law Division, in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Is Legal Separation Recognized in North Carolina?
North Carolina courts recognize legal separation as soon as one spouse moves out of the marital home and at least one spouse intends to continue the separation or pursue a divorce. Spouses must live separately for at least a year before filing for a divorce and show proof of the separation.
What Is a Separation Agreement?
A separation agreement is a legal contract that a husband and wife can utilize upon separation. This agreement resolves property division, debts, child custody, and child support issues.
Although you and your spouse do not need to file a Separation Agreement and Property Settlement (SAPS) to separate, you may consider filing this document to define the terms of your separation clearly. Speaking with a separation agreement lawyer before your separation can help you determine if you should file a SAPS with the court.
What Should Be Included in a Separation Agreement?
Everyone's marriage and divorce are unique, and each couple has their own issues and concerns. As a result, no two separation agreements are ever the same. They may differ depending on the specifics of your marriage. Your separation lawyer will assess your specific needs to ensure that everything is adequately addressed in the agreement. Some of the most common issues addressed in a separation agreement are:
- Property division
- Distribution of debts and future liabilities
- Spousal support
- Child custody and support
- Separation agreement terms if converted into a divorce
Can My Spouse Be Forced to Sign a Separation Agreement?
A party cannot be legally compelled to sign a separation agreement. As a result, it is generally recommended that parties agree on as many significant issues as possible before paying a separation lawyer to draft the separation agreement. A separation agreement can effectively outline your position and open the door to discussion and negotiation. However, if you cannot reach an agreement or your spouse refuses to sign the separation agreement, you will have wasted the money spent on its drafting.
Do I Need an Attorney to Draft My Separation Agreement?
Though many DIY separation agreement samples are available online and can serve as a good starting point, there are several reasons why hiring an attorney is probably a good idea. Unless you are entirely aware of your rights and fully understand the implications of all included provisions intentionally or unintentionally left out, it is a good idea to seek legal counsel. Separation agreements are complicated documents that should be tailored to the specific needs of the parties to the agreement.
Can a Separation Agreement Be Amended?
A separation agreement drafted at the time of the formal split may no longer adequately address the needs of one or both parties. This could be due to changing circumstances as the divorce approaches, or it could be that one or both parties are not strictly adhering to the terms of the negotiated agreement. In such cases, the separation agreement can be amended in various ways such as by:
- Mutual agreement to amend
- Court Order
How Do I Find a Separation Lawyer?
You can search for “separation lawyers near me” online or ask friends or family if they know of a separation agreement lawyer who can help you separate from your spouse. Compare reviews for each law firm to narrow down your options for a North Carolina separation lawyer.
Once you have your short list of preferred separation lawyers, call each law firm and ask a few questions about their services, including:
- Do the attorneys each work on their own cases, or does the law firm team discuss their cases together for additional perspectives and advice?
- How much experience do the attorneys have representing clients in separation and divorce?
- What practice areas does the law firm focus on most?
When you find a law firm or separation lawyer who can answer these questions to your satisfaction, they could be the right law firm for you.
Speaks Law Firm, PC Family Law Division: Your “Separation Lawyers Near Me” in Wilmington, North Carolina
Before searching online for “separation lawyers near me,” consider hiring a Speaks Law Firm, PC Family Law Division separation lawyer in Wilmington, North Carolina. At Speaks Law Firm, PC Family Law Division, we will be your advocate who speaks for you, standing by your side during this difficult time to assist you in drafting your separation agreement so you can move forward with your legal separation. It’s our mission to defend our clients against bullies, including difficult spouses.
Speaks Law Firm, PC Family Law Division
300 N. 3rd St. Suite 310
Wilmington, NC 28401