Separation agreements in North Carolina
This blog discussed a precursor to divorce in North Carolina – the North Carolina separation agreement. Divorce can be a difficult thing for everyone involved. I can be a long and arduous process with a many complicated steps and issues along the way. Specifically, a couple can have several issues to deal with besides divorce such as Child Support, Child Custody, Equitable Distribution, and Alimony concerns. Further, when a married couple has decided to go its separate ways, it is usually not an overnight thing.
When a married couple separates, it is often best for them to at least consider a separation agreement. This typically covers the period of time after separation, but before the finalization of the dissolution of the marriage (the absolute divorce). Typically, with a married couple, or a couple that just lives together, there are many issues with regard to property. Of special concern is property that is in both of their names, or questions about who owns what.
What is a separation agreement?
A separation agreement is a contract between parties that covers some of the financial and property aspects of how this once-married or otherwise cohabitated couple will move forward. This would constitute an agreement between how certain things are separated and how certain issues are handled.
What can a separation agreement cover?
Separation agreements usually cover bank accounts, insurance policies, cars homes, and personal property. Separation agreements can also cover post separation support, alimony, and equitable distribution (the separation of property). North Carolina courts do not have to recognize provisions in a separation agreement that cover what to do with children. Meaning, any provisions regarding child support, and child custody are not immediately enforceable and may require a child support or child custody action. However, you may still choose to include child custody or support provisions in the agreement. Just don’t expect a court to necessarily enforce these provisions. Child custody and child support in NC are properly handled by filing a civil action.
How is a separation agreement enforced?
Typically, a separation agreement that is properly executed would be enforced like any other contract. This means that if one of the terms and conditions are not adhered to by one of the parties, the party that has been wronged can bring a breach of contract action against the other party in Court.
Additionally, a separation agreement can be incorporated by reference as part of the final divorce degree. This means that it would be part of the judge’s court order once a divorce is granted. At that point, any breach of the agreement would be subject to a contempt of court action.
We have given a very broad, very basic overview of separation agreements. There is a lot more to them, and they can very complicated. Though some people like to try to handle separation agreements on their own, at the very least they should consult an attorney about them. At Gilles Law we handle this and other family law matters, contact us to set up a consultation.
If you are in need of a family law attorney, contact Gilles Law. We handle divorce, custody, child support, adoption, and other family law matters in Charlotte, North Carolina and the surrounding areas.