Before Divorce, There's The Legal Separation

Many people make the mistake of thinking that divorce is the first legal action, and then the negotiations start to determine a fair property settlement. Wrong.

If you are considering dissolving your marriage in North Carolina, your first legal action should be to agree with your spouse on a legally binding Separation Agreement regarding the division of your marital property. The final divorce judgment may not take place for months or even a year. Over the course of that time, a Separation and Property Settlement Agreement can be solidified to protect your financial interests and address any unexpected problems before your settlement becomes a divorce judgment.

Why Is This Agreement So Important?

In general, parties have the right to mutually agree between themselves how they desire to handle various issues over the course of their separation. Signing a written agreement for private settlement, and having it validly notarized, makes the agreement enforceable. Over the course of the separation, you and your spouse may come to realize that certain components of the agreement are mutually unacceptable. Your individual attorneys can negotiate changes to the language and help you resolve disputes that may arise before executing the agreement.

Separation Of Property And Division Of Property

Since a Separation and Property Settlement Agreement is mutually agreed upon by both parties, the document can cover a full range of issues, including:

  • Spousal support, alimony arrangements
  • Whether specific property will ultimately be classified as marital property or separate property
  • How assets and debts will be allocated between the parties
  • Living arrangements/treatment of the marital residence
  • Issues involving children — custody, visitation rights and child support
  • Access to financial assets, savings accounts and investments
  • Qualified retirement funds
  • Access to vacation properties and joint real estate holdings
  • Business ownership and succession planning

Contact An Experienced North Carolina Family Law Firm

It is best to remember that divorce is the final legal act of a long process that starts with legal separation. If you are considering dissolving your marriage, talk to a lawyer at Coggin Law, PLLC, in Charlotte to learn more about drafting a formal Separation Agreement.

Call us at 704-533-8636 or send an email with a brief explanation of your property circumstances. We will contact you as soon as possible to schedule a consultation.