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Is a separation agreement a good idea?

When you are considering a divorce or plan to move out of your marital home, one thing you may want to do is to create a separation agreement. It's helpful to create this agreement ahead of your divorce if you and your spouse can get along and work together to do so, since it can save you time and energy later on. Your separation length may vary before your divorce, so this agreement may benefit you in the short term while you decide how to divide assets and take care of debts.

What is a separation agreement?

If you're getting a divorce, a separation agreement can help you divide assets and responsibilities in the interim. In this agreement, you can resolve issues such as debts and who pays for them, child custody arrangements, child support arrangements, and property division concerns.

What makes a separation agreement valid?

A separation agreement is only valid if both parties sign it willingly. If there is any sign that a person was coerced into signing the agreement, then it will be void. To be valid, the agreement must have been signed after the pair separated. On top of this, both signatures must be notarized for the agreement to be legal.

Is a separation agreement required in North Carolina?

No, and in fact, there are no laws that require a separation agreement. If there are children involved in the divorce case or significant concerns over debts or property claims, then it can be a good idea to have one. A separation agreement isn't enough to prove when the parties split up and isn't necessary to get a divorce.

A separation agreement is binding when notarized; your attorney may be able to notarize the documents for you.

Source: Legal Assistance for Military Personnel, "Separation Agreements," accessed Aug. 19, 2016

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