Separation Agreement Lawyers Serving Winston-Salem & Greensboro

When you need assistance with legal separation matters in the Piedmont Triad

Once a couple has made the decision to end their marriage, they may go straight ahead to divorce or first enter into a separation agreement. Although a separation agreement is not a legal requirement for divorce, many couples choose to create one, as it can make the divorce process more streamlined and less stressful for both parties. Separation agreements can help both spouses resolve the issues related to their divorce in private instead of litigating them in court.

Separation agreements also help you protect your rights during and after the divorce. Once it is signed, it is a legal and binding contract whose terms are enforceable in court. The family law attorneys at Hartsoe & Associates, P.C. have over two decades of experience helping clients in the Piedmont Triad and can help you achieve your specific divorce goals, too.

What is the definition of separation in North Carolina?

You and your spouse are considered separated if you are living separate and apart, and at least one of you intends that separation to be permanent. Living “separate and apart” means entirely separate residences; not just sleeping in separate bedrooms or different parts of the home. You do not have to file any special paperwork to become separated.

Under North Carolina law, you and your spouse are free to divorce without fault after being separated for one year. Separation begins the day either spouse leaves the marital home.


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Why should I consider a separation agreement?

Many divorcing couples find separation agreements useful to define their rights – as well as their obligations – at the end of a marriage. This document can address a variety of issues, including:

  • Alimony
  • Child custody and child support
  • Distribution of property
  • Division of debt
  • Any other relevant matters

Even if you and your spouse have decided not to divorce at this time, but will remain separated, a separation agreement allows you to put certain protections in place – for example, you may want to keep your spouse on your health insurance plan.

What goes in a typical separation agreement?

Although every couple’s situation is unique, our Winston-Salem attorneys recommend separation agreements take the following into consideration:

  • Marital residence. A separation agreement can specify who gets the house after the divorce, and if one spouse must “buy out” the other spouse’s half.
  • Property division. Your agreement can also detail who receives which marital assets and property, like cars, stocks and bonds, and furniture and art. This also includes splitting up any marital debts.
  • Child custody and child support. If you and your spouse have children, you can address issues regarding custody, visitation, and child support, as well as any other co-parenting guidelines.
  • Alimony. A separation agreement can also specify spousal support, the amount, the frequency of payments, and how long it will continue.

After you and your spouse sign a separation agreement, our Greensboro attorneys ensure it is a legal and binding contract. This means that, once it is signed and notarized, it is enforceable in court in the event your ex-spouse fails to comply with its terms.

Do I really need a separation if I’m getting divorced?

No. It is not required in North Carolina to be separated in order to divorce. However, for some couples, divorce is not an option – whether for religious reasons, concerns for their children, or due to financial considerations. In cases like these, a separation agreement may be more beneficial and practical. The attorneys at Hartsoe & Associates can answer any questions you may have about this process.

Do I have to sign a separation agreement?

You do not have to sign anything you do not feel is fair. Any contract, and a separation agreement is a contract, requires the voluntary signatures of all parties. Neither your spouse nor anybody else can compel you to enter into an agreement without your consent. When anyone signs a contract under duress, or without a full disclosure of all finances and relevant facts, the agreement may not be enforceable in court.

Can my spouse and I use the same attorney for our separation agreement?

No, you cannot. Even if you and your spouse are on the same page about your divorce, at the end of the day, a divorce is a negotiation, and you each have different interests. Therefore, using the same attorney presents a conflict of interest when creating a separation agreement.

However, our separation agreement lawyers will work with you to create a document that meets your goals, and negotiate on your behalf with your spouse’s counsel to come up with a mutually beneficial contract.

What is a divorce from bed and board in North Carolina?

A divorce from bed and board is a type of fault-based legal separation as described in state statute. A spouse can file for divorce from bed and board under the following circumstances.

If their spouse:

  • Abandons his or family
  • Maliciously turns the other out of doors
  • By cruel or barbarous treatment endangers the life of the other
  • Offers such indignities to the person of the other as to render his or her condition intolerable and life burdensome
  • Becomes an excessive user of alcohol or drugs so as to render the condition of the other spouse intolerable and the life of that spouse burdensome
  • Commits adultery

Divorce from bed and board is meant to protect the victimized spouse, and is typically used to evict the at-fault spouse from the marital residence. It is not a divorce, but more of a legal separation. Talk to our attorneys to find out more.

Separation agreement attorneys serving the Piedmont Triad

If you are considering a divorce, creating a separation agreement may be beneficial for you and your spouse moving forward. It is important to protect your rights, as well as the rights of your children, as you make the decision to end your marriage. At Hartsoe & Associates, P.C., our family law attorneys handle your case with compassion and experience. We serve families and clients in Winston-Salem and Greensboro, as well as the Piedmont Triad. To schedule a consultation with an experienced attorney, please call 336-725-1985 or fill out our contact form.