The end of a marriage can be a complicated and difficult process, but you may not be ready to rush into a divorce. If you aren’t ready to move forward with that step, yet you are also unwilling to continue to live with your spouse, you may want to legally separate. There are many reasons why one would choose to legally separate, but you would be wise to protect your interests if you make this choice.
A separation is much more than simply making the decision to move out and live on your own while remaining married. If you decide to separate, it is beneficial to draft a formal separation agreement in order to reduce complications during this already difficult time. A separation agreement is similar to a divorce agreement in many ways, allowing you and your spouse to specify the terms of your current situation.
What should be in your agreement?
A separation is ideal for you if you are contemplating a divorce at some point or you want to eventually work on a reconciliation. Regardless of your intentions for the separation, you will benefit from drafting a formal separation agreement that will outline the rights, expectations and responsibilities of each side before proceeding. Some of the things that should be in your separation agreement include:
- Child custody and visitation schedules
- Child support and spousal support obligations
- Division of property
- How the two parties will share responsibility for debt
Like a divorce agreement, you can custom-tailor your separation agreement to suit your individual needs. North Carolina couples who wish to create a meaningful and sustainable separation agreement often find that they are able to use this agreement as a foundation for a future divorce order. This may help a divorce proceed faster and reduce the chance of contention between parties.
A legal separation may last for a few months, or it could last for years. When creating a separation agreement, it is in your interests to consider what terms will make sense long-term. With a formal agreement, not only will you make this difficult time simpler and easier, but you may also find that you are able to provide your children with more continuity of lifestyle and stability. An assessment of your case will help you understand the specific terms you may want to include in your agreement.