When representing our family law clients we are often asked why do i need a separation agreement? When parties separate, either by choice or the result of one spouse leaving the marriage, multiple legal issues arise. These may include and raise questions concerning the division of assets and debts, custody and visitation, child support and spousal support.
In North Carolina spouses need to be separated for a year before they can file for a divorce. Leaving issues unattended during this time is a breeding ground for fear, distrust, and anger, which ultimately complicates matters and more often than not, results in contested litigation, costing clients significantly more in terms of legal fees and emotional toil.
By consulting with an experienced family law attorney at the beginning of the separation process, clients very often are able to resolve their legal issues early, without the increase of hostility, or risk of litigation, saving them time and money. By preparing and negotiating the terms of a separation agreement, with the advice and skill of an attorney, clients can resolve their legal issues and achieve a level of formality and enforceability while securing peace of mind. The alternative is to engage in litigation, which not only is more confrontational and sometimes has negative effects, certainly as far at the parties being able to communicate, but with litigation the parties lose control and the ultimate decision is left in the hands of the Court, which may not have the same interest or flexibility as the parties.
Separation agreements are enforceable and welcomed by the Courts. If both parties are willing to act within a mode of reasonableness and to put aside their emotion, the chances of being able to negotiate a separation agreement go up dramatically.
If you are separating, or contemplating a separation, please contact our office and we will be happy to answer all of your questions and guide you through this process.