Sep. 19, 2022

Separation Agreement Versus Divorce in North Carolina

cropped image of couple signing divorce agreementMost of the time, people confuse divorce and a separation agreement as both signify the end of a marriage. But are these two concepts the same?

If you are getting a divorce in NC, you need to understand the differences between them. The one you choose will have consequences in the end.

And if you are not informed, you may make a mistake.

That is why we suggest getting legal guidance. Talk to Mercedes Chut, an expert in divorce and separation issues. She will guide you through the process of ending your marriage by helping you make the right choice.

With that said, let’s explore the concept of divorce versus separation in North Carolina.

Similarities & Differences Between Separation Agreement & Divorce

Both legal separation and divorce create some space between the two spouses. And in both, the two parties can enter agreements about spousal support, the division of property, child custody, and child support.

Another similarity is that you can consult a family law lawyer Greensboro. We highly suggest doing things, especially when drawing an agreement on things like child support and custody, as the lawyer will fight for your interests.

The biggest difference between divorce and legal separation in NC is that when you obtain a legal separation, you and your spouse are still legally married. You cannot marry another person. In divorce, you can remarry.

With a legal separation, spouses still get to enjoy the benefits of joint health insurance and social security. But on the downside, you can get into trouble for any debts your spouse gets into. Also, upon the death of one spouse, the other spouse has inheritance rights of the deceased’s property.

Another difference is that in a legal separation, one spouse can still be considered the next of kin. That means they have the right to make health and financial decisions for you if you are incapacitated. In divorce, your ex cannot make such decisions.

Separation and Divorce Laws in NC

You and your spouse are considered legally separated from the time one party moves to a separate home, with one spouse intending to remain separated indefinitely.

Separation laws in North Carolina are different than in other states. It is rare for one to seek legal separation from the court by the time a spouse is moving out.

One spouse has to prove marital fault with the other party. However, you can get legally separated by negotiating a separation agreement NC.

For a couple to obtain a divorce in NC, both spouses must have been separated for one year before applying for a divorce in court. During that one year, if you reconcile and move in together and then decide to divorce, the calendar starts again.

Things like hook-ups where you and your ex engage in sex do not necessarily re-start the clock. The moment you take this path, hire a divorce attorney in Greensboro, NC. A lawyer not only represents your interests but also advises you on things you shouldn’t do that can compromise your case.

Which Is Best for Me and Under Which Circumstance?

There is no straightforward answer to this question, as it depends on your circumstances.

In a situation where reconciliation is neither desirable nor likely after one year of separation, divorce is the better route.

In other circumstances, couples can choose legal separation if things like religion do not allow divorce.

Others may want to avoid the lifestyle changes that come with divorce for the sake of kids, while others may need space and time to think if they want to remain married simply. It is up to you to consult with your attorney and explain your wishes for legal guidance.

Whether divorcing or separating, a lawyer will protect your rights on issues like child support, child custody, division of assets, and alimony. As you have seen, NC separation laws are quite different from other states.

You may assume you are on track to divorce, only to find you made mistakes along the way. The role of the attorney is to ensure no mistakes are made.

Mercedes Chut understands that the end of a marriage can be difficult for someone. Whether you are considering divorce or a separation agreement, she will approach your case with compassion and ensure your rights are upheld. Schedule your consultation session with her today.

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