A separation agreement is a private contract between spouses who are separated or plan to separate very soon. A separation agreement contains agreed-upon terms that address various issues related to separation, such as the spouse responsible for certain bills, whether a person will continue to live in the matrimonial home or where the children will live. A typical separation agreement includes details of separation, division of property, spousal support and, if there are children, custody and support. In North Carolina, « matrimonial property » can be divided between the parties, while « separate property » is not divided. In general, property or debts that one spouse had before the marriage are « separate property » from that spouse and are not divided. However, a spouse may have some right to an asset based on active increases in value during the marriage. Property and debts acquired during the marriage are generally classified as « matrimonial property » (exceptions include inheritances and gifts received by one of you from a third party during the marriage). A third category, called « divisible property, » applies to property acquired between separation and divorce. Divisible property may be divided between the parties according to the circumstances. A separation agreement is not necessary to be legally separated from your spouse. However, a separation agreement can resolve many of the legal issues associated with the end of a marriage.
For example, you can decide how to divide your property and whether one of you pays child support to the other. In some situations, spouses may request that the separation agreement be part of their final divorce judgment. Spouses who are able to resolve their separation issues through a separation agreement can make these decisions themselves and avoid having to go to court. So what is a separation agreement? A separation agreement is an enforceable contract between spouses who are considering separation or who have separated. If you are considering legal separation or if you are already separated, several legal rights and/or obligations come into play, namely: division of marital property and debts, spousal support, custody and child support. Starting at 1. January 2019 and with an impact on the support awarded by a separation agreement signed after that date or a court order made after that date, child support will no longer be included in computing a dependent spouse`s gross income. While you don`t need a lawyer or a separation agreement for a legal separation in North Carolina, it`s wise to consult a family law attorney before separating. After talking to a family law attorney who understands North Carolina`s separation and divorce laws, you may find that a separation agreement makes sense for other reasons. Can a separation agreement include custody and child support decisions? No. As long as you are able to divorce, your spouse does not have to accept the divorce.
When you file for divorce, your spouse doesn`t have to fill out or sign paperwork, file anything in court, or go to court for a divorce hearing. However, your spouse must receive proper legal notice of the divorce application you have filed. This divorce requires that you and your spouse have been separated for at least three years because of your spouse`s mental health and that your spouse has been institutionalized during this period or has been declared « mentally ill » by a judge at least three years ago. It also requires the declaration of two specialists that your spouse is currently « incurably insane. » In this case, you do not have to prove that you have planned for the separation to be permanent for at least one year. What are the requirements for a separation agreement to be valid? It is recommended that you have the separation documents prepared for you by a lawyer. Both parties must sign the document and their signatures must be notarized. We accept cheques or money orders for admission fees. Equitable division is a legal right to partition of property in which a spouse can ask the court for help in dividing property and debts acquired during the marriage.
North Carolina law states that « unlawful sexual conduct » affects child support payments. A dependent spouse who deceived the supporting spouse before separation loses the right to support. A joint and several spouse who deceived the dependent spouse before the separation is obliged to pay maintenance. If both parties made a mistake during the marriage, it is up to the judge to decide whether or not to order maintenance. An exception applies if the fraud has been « tolerated » or forgiven by the other spouse. Under the law, an equal division of matrimonial property is preferable, but if one spouse asks for an unequal division and the judge finds that an unequal division would be fair, the court can give one party a larger share of the property or debt than the other. Judges consider many factors when deciding how property should be divided. These factors include income, property and debt of both parties; the age and state of health of the parties; the duration of the marriage; each party`s contributions to the profitability of the others; tax implications; and more.
Spousal misconduct is not an equitable distribution factor, except in cases of financial misconduct after separation. The full list of factors can be found here. These laws mean that no court documents must be filed or a separation agreement must be drafted before what most people commonly refer to as legal separation can take place for a married couple.
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