Are you thinking about divorcing your spouse in North Carolina? Did you know that before you can actually file for divorce, the state requires that you live separately from them for at least one year? During this time apart, you can actually mandate how the two of you will act, almost as if it is in preparation for a full divorce. Through a separation agreement, the future of your relationship, both near and far, can start to be a little clearer.
What Your Separation Agreement Should Cover
Your life after divorce is going to be controlled greatly by terms created in a divorce agreement. Before this happens, you can create similar terms in a separation agreement. Many divorcing couples see it as a “test run” for when their divorce finalizes. Within the year they live apart but are not divorced, the separation agreement can be judged for fairness and effectiveness. For example, if you find that you are paying too much alimony each month to pay your own bills, make certain your divorce agreement calls for less than your separation agreement did.
Topics to consider covering in your separation agreement include:
- Spousal support: Who is making more income and generally supports the other spouse? They will probably be expected to give some spousal support each month, at least until the other spouse remarries, earns gainful employment, or several years pass.
- Child custody: Living separately but having children together will be much easier for everyone if you can decide ahead of time where your children will live and on what schedule.
- Child support: Speaking of your children, does the parent who will likely get primary custody need financial help to raise them? Even if they are well-off, child support payments are frequently required. See if you can work out a balanced amount now, before the divorce is final.
- Property division: This can be a bit trickier to figure out until you get closer to your actual divorce but it is worth putting in the effort now. The focus of your division efforts should be who will keep possession of the marital home. It does not have to be the person who is living in it during your separation.
If you have questions about separation agreements and the divorce process in North Carolina in general, you can call 800.705.8950 and connect with Hopper Law Firm. Our Raleigh divorce attorney would be happy to get you more information in a case evaluation.