Separation

In North Carolina, even experienced domestic practitioners sometimes disagree as to the definition of a "legal" separation.  For the purposes of obtaining an absolute divorce based upon one year's separation, a "legal" separation begins when the parties begin living separate and apart, and at least one of the parties has formed the intent to remain separate and not to resume the marital relationship.  To begin this period of separation, it is not necessary execute any particular document, or to file an action or notice with the Court. 

Others, however, define a "legal" separation as the legal status obtained by married parties who have signed a properly drafted separation agreement.  While many divorcing couples believe that these agreements are simple enough to draft themselves, these self-drafted agreements often have disastrous results for one or both parties. Many times a spouse will sign away rights they never knew they had, only to find out later that they lost valuable property or other rights, simply trying to save the cost of a professionally drafted agreement.

Our attorneys will counsel you as to what your rights are before we even begin to discuss a Separation Agreement, from the basics of child support and child custody issues, to complicated issues of property division, tracing separate property, and the division of retirement assets. If your spouse has presented you with an Agreement drafted by another attorney, we strongly recommend that you obtain legal advice before signing, whether that advice comes from this firm or another.