Separating from your spouse can be very stressful, emotional and confusing. When individuals call an attorney at Moretz & Skufca, PLLC, they typically first ask, “What do I need to file to become legally separated from my spouse?” The answer, in most situations, is that you don’t need to file anything. Under North Carolina law, spouses become legally separated when the parties live separate and apart, with no intention of resuming the marital relationship, for a period of one year.

It is advisable that during this one-year period, you and your spouse discuss the issues of separation and contemplate a separation agreement. Entering into a separation agreement has many great benefits like a quick resolution, lower legal costs and avoiding litigation. A separation agreement is simply a contract between the parties that allows for them to address how they want to handle the issues of divorce such as the distribution of their assets, who gets to keep the house, who should receive spousal support, and how to handle child custody and child support. At the conclusion of the one-year period, the parties are free to file for absolute divorce. In addition, the separation agreement can be entered as an order through your final divorce, but doing such has its benefits and detriments.

However, if the parties cannot agree on the details of their separation agreement, then it will become very important to protect your rights prior to the divorce judgment being entered. If you fail to demand and preserve those rights before your divorce is entered by the court, you will forever waive them. Those rights, which are substantial, include post-separation support, alimony and equitable distribution. Schedule a consultation with an experienced Charlotte separation agreement lawyer today.