What is a Separation Agreement, and Why Would You Need One?

Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “How can an attorney help me with my Divorce or Separation in North Carolina?”


Whether you are in a married couple or a civil partnership, situations might occur when you and your partner decide to separate from one another. When there is no signed official document that shows an official separation between a couple, splitting in these situations can raise some legal concerns.

shaking-hands-agreement-Moresville-Charlotte-Monroe-Separation-attorney-300x225Clearly, these matters need to be sorted and resolved. Once the parties involved can arrive at a mutual agreement as it concerns these matters, the terms of agreement are stated in a contract. The resulting contract is referred to as a separation agreement.


What is a Separation Agreement?

One of the most affordable ways for separating spouses to resolve certain issues, a separation agreement is a legal contract between spouses or civil partners who are separate or intend to separate soon. Generally, the separation agreement is a private document that contains agreed upon details about how these partners will handle their assets, marital responsibilities, child custody, child support, or even distribution of debts.

Separating parties are not required by law to have a separation agreement, but it is a great choice if there are properties, children, debts, and support claims that will be best sorted out in writing. In North Carolina, a separation agreement is not considered valid until both parties have notarized signatures on the document.


How is a Separation Different From a Divorce?

Oftentimes, people consider separation and divorce as the same, but they are actually different. While a separation can lead to a divorce, it really is not a divorce. When separated, the marital partners are still legally married, and can choose to remain so even if they no longer engage in a marital relationship.

Divorce differs from this as it usually starts out with a divorce packet and is normally concluded in the presence of a judge. Once a divorce is granted, the marriage is dissolved and the couple cannot be considered as a husband or wife to each other.


Why Would I Need a Separation Agreement?

A separation agreement comes in handy if you and your partner have not decided on a divorce or a definite conclusion of your civil partnership. Moreover, if the separation is amicable and you are still considering the future of your partnership, then a separation agreement is a great choice. Also, if you are unable to get a divorce based on some specific requirements by the court, then a separation agreement is a reasonable solution.


When is a Separation Agreement Valid?

A separation agreement becomes valid as long as it has the signatures of all involved parties. Naturally, these signatures have to be notarized and should not be obtained under pressure or duress. Also, the separation agreement has to be fair to all parties involved. Since assets differ from one party to the other, an agreeable balance should be achieved so that the agreement will not appear as one sided.


Questions about Separation Agreements? Contact Our Office Today

With a separation agreement, you are cutting down on cost spent on litigation and time for divorce proceedings, too. The procedure is entirely flexible, as you and your partner can agree on conditions that are fair to both parties with enough privacy. Get a phone, video or in-person consultation by calling at (704) 370-2828 to speak with our detail-oriented and well-versed lawyers with offices in Charlotte, Lake Norman, and Monroe, please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today or find additional resources here.







The family law practice group at Arnold & Smith, PLLC includes two Board-Certified Family Law specialists and one Child Welfare Law specialist, as well as several attorneys with many years of family law experience that are committed to providing a powerful voice to individuals facing the often-tumultuous issues in this area of law. The range of issues our family law clients may be facing include pre- and post-nuptial agreements; separation agreements; post-separation support; child support (both temporary and permanent); absolute divorce; divorce from bed and board; military divorce; equitable distribution of assets; child custody (both temporary and permanent); retirement benefits and divorce; alimony and spousal support; adoption; and emancipation. Because this area of the law is usually emotionally charged and complicated, the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC act with the utmost dedication to ensure that each client understands his or her options, and then act to achieve the best result possible for that client’s particular situation.








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