Separation and Divorce
The decision to separate is a difficult and overwhelming decision. It is important to know that while court action is always an option, there are several alternatives to a court proceeding to resolve issues such as property division (known as equitable distribution in NC), postseparation support, alimony, child custody, and child support. These issues may be resolved through settlement negotiations and/or mediation, eliminating the need for either party to go to court. When issues are resolved outside of court, the document formalizing the agreement of the parties is usually known as a Separation Agreement. A Separation Agreement typically includes waivers of certain rights arising out of the marital relationship, such as inheritance rights, and also includes provisions to protect the parties from liability for the debts of the other. Typically a Separation Agreement will be executed on the date of separation, or at some point after the separation, but prior to the final divorce. It is important to note that, once a divorce is final, the parties lose their ability to assert certain claims arising out the marital relationship and, therefore, it is imperative that these claims are resolved in a Separation Agreement, or asserted in a court action before the divorce is final. If you are contemplating separating from your spouse, please call our office to schedule a consultation with one of our family law attorneys.