In North Carolina, spouses must complete a separation period of at least one year and one day before they can move forward with the process to finalize their divorce. We have discussed this requirement in previous blog posts.
However, as you consider ending your marriage, you may wonder if you need a separation agreement. Here are a few things to evaluate to help you answer this question.
Three circumstances where an agreement can help
The first thing to note is that a separation agreement is not required under North Carolina law. You should make sure you note the dates and details of your separation to meet the requirements, but a legal agreement is not a part of those requirements.
Even so, there are some cases when a separation agreement may be helpful, or even necessary. You and your ex-spouse should consider creating a separation agreement if:
- You have children: You and your ex-spouse may not have an official custody arrangement yet. A separation agreement can help you organize the temporary details of parenting time, visitation and child support during this time. This time can be tumultuous for the whole family, and establishing a legal separation agreement can help create a form of structure and accountability.
- There is a chance of dispute: During a divorce, you will likely face some disagreements. However, if there is a risk of a serious dispute, whether over property or child custody, a separation agreement might be beneficial to establish some ground rules.
- You worry about finances: If you are concerned that your spouse could hide assets or potentially squander them before property division, then you should consider a separation agreement. It is also critical to address the use of marital assets during this period.
There are many other situations when it can benefit you to establish a separation agreement, these three are merely some common ones families face. However, you can establish a separation agreement in any case – even if you simply want to take precautions as you move forward with your divorce.