Raleigh, NC asked in Divorce for North Carolina

Q: Do i need a lawyer for legal separation

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1 Lawyer Answer
Rachel Lea Hunter
Rachel Lea Hunter
  • Cary, NC
  • Licensed in North Carolina

A: No. All you and your spouse have to do is decide that you do not want to be married anymore and you have to live separate and apart.

However, it would be a very good idea for you and your spouse to have a settlement agreement in place before you separate. A settlement agreement will divide up your marital assets and marital debts, and will address things like child support/custody (if there are any children) and spousal support/alimony (if applicable). It will also discuss things like estate administration/inheritance if one of you would die prior to the divorce being finalized and the ability to see/date other people after the separation.

If you can afford it, I would recommend that you consult with a family law attorney in your area. If there are no kids and you both make about the same and neither of you can afford a lawyer, then you can make your own simple separation agreement - free samples (use one from NC though!) abound. A helpful site is www.divorcesource.com. As long as you both sign and notarize the agreement and both have the opportunity to consult with counsel, then it will be valid.

Once the agreement is signed, then plan on moving out the next day. After a year and a day of separation, either of you can file for divorce. Divorce itself is simple. What complicates this is that people fight over children and division of their stuff. If you have assets or children then you really need to consult an attorney.

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