The Separation Process
My spouse has asked for us to separate, now what?
In North Carolina, there are two options once your spouse or you have made the decision to separate.
Option one is to work things out with a separation agreement. A separation agreement is a contract between two parties. They often include provisions requiring full disclosure and honesty when negotiating terms. A separation agreement can resolve everything from child custody, child support, equitable distribution, post-separation support, and alimony. This is an out of court settlement by contract. It requires two signatures by each party before a notary. A separation agreement can then be incorporated in to a divorce judgment after one year and a day has passed.
Option two is to file in a court of law for claims available to you. A complaint filed in court can include everything from child custody, child support, equitable distribution, post-separation support, and alimony. Filing in court is often not the most cost effective route, but oftentimes is the only remedy left to a distraught parent or financially bereft spouse. A refusal to meet at the negotiation table or withholding of marital assets will often force one party to file against the other.
In child custody and equitable distribution cases, most judges will require you to attend mediation before hearing the matter before them. In some counties, like Buncombe, you are immediately notified of your mediation date. In other counties, you are notified typically a month to two months after the filing of the initial complaint of your mediation date. This delay can create hardship and stress on minor children, parents, and extended family.
Our attorneys are knowledgeable in the field of family law and can help you navigate through this difficult time. We invite you to come in and talk with our attorneys. Our number is 828-254-0499.