If you are planning on getting divorced in the state of North Carolina, you are not required to use a separation agreement, but it can be an important tool to protect yourself, your assets and other details concerning the end of your marriage. Separation agreements serve a number of purposes, and these can be important documents that confirm your required one year of living separate and apart prior to a divorce in North Carolina.
Separation agreements can be customized to meet your unique needs and situation, but they generally contain details about the following:
- Spousal support and alimony: These items are less commonly included than they once were, but if there is a large disparity in income, they may be considered.
- Payment of joint debts: Items like car loans, mortgages, and other joint debts much be factored in.
- Residence in the marital home: As North Carolina law requires you to live separate from your spouse for a year, you must decide who (if anyone) will remain in the home you shared.
- Child custody, support, and visitation: Common custody arrangements include sole custody and a variety of joint custody options. If a couple can’t come to an agreement on these areas, the court often decides for them.
- Shared property and other assets: If your home or car is owned outright with no debt owed, ownership will need to be determined.
- Shared accounts and funds: These must be divided, and joint accounts closed.
Separation agreements are legally binding contracts that can help you finalize the details needed to complete your divorce in North Carolina. The more details that are agreed upon at this time, the more straight-forward your divorce proceedings may be after your required year of living separately.