Ending your marriage is one of the most stressful experiences that you will ever endure in life. There are numerous legal issues that you must consider, at the same time as you are undergoing significant life changes. Since there is already enough upheaval, the hope is that you can conclude your marriage without a legal battle.
A Hendersonville family law attorney at Davis Curry can represent you throughout the divorce process. We can help you negotiate a separation agreement that looks out for your present and future concerns. Contact us to begin.
Legal Separations in North Carolina
There are two ways to end a marriage in North Carolina:
- You can reach a separation agreement with the other spouse that addresses all the major issues that need resolution
- If you cannot agree on the issues, you would take your case to court, and a judge would decide the contested matters
Why You Should Enter a Separation Agreement
Most people would say that it is a far better outcome to reach a separation agreement than it is to end up in court in front of a judge. Divorce trials can be expensive and rancorous. You would be mired in the legal process for an extended period of time and unable to move on with your life. In the process, you would be using money on the legal process that you would need to start your life anew.
In contrast, a separation agreement is a more amicable process (even if negotiations may be drawn out and contentious). You have much more control over your situation when you can reach an agreement. Otherwise, a judge would have the final say over contested issues, and you may have no predictability.
If minor children are involved, reaching a separation agreement may be more important. Litigation could negatively affect the children, leaving lasting bitterness between the parents, who need to maintain a working relationship for years to come.
What Are Terms of Separation Agreements in North Carolina?
Below are some aspects that could be a part of a separation agreement:
- Division of the marital assets (including accounts)
- How the family home is treated in the divorce (who gets to remain in the home, and how one spouse will buy out the other’s interest in the house)
- Custody of the minor children (both physical and legal custody)
- Visitation schedule for the non-custodial parent
- How holidays are to be divided between the parents
- Child support issues, including the monthly payment and any other expenses related to the children
- Alimony payments that one spouse makes to the other (both the amount and duration of the payments)
Although a separation agreement is less contentious than a litigated case, it is not always easy to come to an understanding with the other spouse. It could take some time to reach an agreement, but it is a worthwhile investment, given the ramifications of a divorce trial.
The Steps Involved in Reaching a Separation Agreement
A separation agreement could involve the following steps:
- Working together with your lawyer to determine your goals for the negotiation
- Communicating with the other party through your attorneys
- Exchanging proposals for resolving the major issues in your case
- Determining where you may disagree and figuring out your common ground
- Moving closer to an agreement by compromising whenever possible
You may not be on the same page as your spouse when the process begins. You may even be far apart. However, it does not mean that you cannot continue to negotiate. You might even opt to mediate your divorce case to get professional help in negotiations. A mediator is trained to facilitate communication between parties who are at odds with each other.
The bulk of the process is the continuous negotiations between you and the other spouse. You may continue to negotiate, even if one of you files a case in court. Oftentimes, divorce cases are resolved through a separation agreement before the judge holds the hearing.
The first step to reaching a separation agreement is contacting an experienced family law attorney. You should not try to handle your own negotiations. Being too close to the situation would make things worse. An attorney could give you an objective opinion and help lower tensions by handling the communications with the other attorney.
Usually, the attorneys would have some communication at the outset to discuss whether a separation agreement is possible. Most divorcing spouses will at least try to negotiate an agreement before they litigate. However, it is not always possible to reach a separation agreement. One spouse may not be willing to compromise, or the gap between the parties is too far to bridge.
For your part, you would talk to your attorney and come up with your own desired terms and solutions before you begin the negotiation. You should start the process organized and with your own clear bottom lines. You should also have your own red lines and know the point at which you may take the case to court.
Contact a Hendersonville Separation Agreement Attorney Today
A skilled lawyer at Davis Curry Law can help you through the separation process, handling the legal details, all so you can focus on your own healing. There is no reason why you would need to go through divorce on your own.
You can learn how we can work for you when you schedule an initial consultation with one of our attorneys. To speak with us, you can call today at 828-900-2420 or send us a message online.
Separation Agreement FAQs
Will my divorce case end up in front of a judge?
While a judge is involved in every divorce case to an extent, trials are actually very rare in divorce cases. Chances are that you will reach an agreement with the other spouse at some point.
How does a lawyer help my chances of keeping my case out of court?
Lawyers do not always litigate first and ask questions later. They will try to assist you in reaching an agreement by providing you with objective advice and communicating on your behalf.