A separation agreement is usually the first legal instrument a divorcing couple will agree upon. Although the parties are still legally married, the separation agreement mandates and directs the affairs of the parties while they are living separately. The agreement is crucial as it can set the tone for the final agreement that is incorporated into the divorce decree. Parties should be hard-pressed to agree to terms that are the most fair to their wants and needs. There are a few important terms that are seldom discussed when one thinks of a separation agreement. These terms can also be some of the most contentious during divorce proceedings. It can also make for a speedy proceeding if the parties are able to decide on them during the separation phase.
During a marriage, most couples will purchase a house together and share joint ownership. A house may be the largest and most expensive asset a couple may own. During separation, one spouse usually has to leave the marital home. If the parties are financially stable, they can agree to keep the home and one party can obtain a separate dwelling place. Some parties may agree to sell the home and share the profits. If both parties have practical, emotional or financial attachments to the home, the may both decide to remain in the home for the duration of the divorce proceeding. In this instance, the parties would be wise to include terms regarding the rules of cohabitation during separation.
However, parties who are divorcing in North Carolina must live separate and apart to qualify under the one-year of separation divorce ground. This means that they must live in separate dwelling homes. In addition, North Carolina is an equitable distribution state, therefore, if the home was purchased by one spouse before the marriage and the financials of the home was not commingled in the marital finances, then one spouse will receive the home as theirs. The equitable distribution analysis will government much of the property owned by the spouses.
When children are involved in a divorce, the more complex a separation agreement becomes. It is important to note that the parenting clause is one that will constantly change depending on the age and needs of the child at any given point. Initial terms on legal and physical custody can test the agreement during the separation period. A judge may adopt the terms when the divorce is final. For this term, the parties may agree on a plethora of items governing the child’s life. This includes agreement on how to raise the child, activities in which the child will participate, the child’s living arrangements, the child’s health and wellness, etc. Therefore, the parties can negotiate and contract on just about any concept concerning the child’s well-being.
Medical and Dental Insurance
Medical and dental insurance terms are not an intuitive detail to contract around when considering a separation agreement. However, they are important for all parties involved. The parties involved may want to determine whose health and dental plan a child will benefit from during the duration of the divorce proceeding and after. If one party benefits from the other’s insurance plan, then the parties should agree on whether the dependent party will remain on the plan. As part of child or spousal support, the parties may also determine how any uncovered medical treatments will be handled in the future.
Charlotte Separation Attorneys
A separation agreement is one of the most important aspects of a divorce. You deserve an attorney who will guide you through the process and anticipate crucial steps that are commonplace in divorce proceedings. When a separation agreement covers many areas governing the lives of the parties, the less dispute resolution is involved in the process. The experienced North Carolina attorneys at Powers Landreth PLLC are here to help determine whether a separation agreement is right for you. Contact us now for a consultation.