Free North Carolina Marital Separation Agreement

Understanding Separation Agreements in North Carolina

North Carolina legal separation laws are a little different than other states. In North Carolina, the legal marital status of a couple does not change during a marital separation. A separated couple is still “legally married,” and a Marital Separation Agreement is an important step in the process.

North Carolina Marital Separation Agreement

North Carolina requires that a couple be separated for a period of one year and one day, in order to qualify for a divorce. Though North Carolina does not recognize “legal separation” as a distinct legal status in between marriage and divorce, Separation Agreements between spouses, like the North Carolina Separation Agreement and Property Settlement we offer above, is recognized and binding by law.

Separation is only effected when you live in separate residences and live separate lives. Just having a Separation Agreement does not create a case of legal separation.

What is a Separation Agreement?

It is a written contract between the spouses. The agreement covers all or most of the issues often involved in the couple’s separation, and in eventual divorce. Oral agreements are not enforceable in court.

The Separation Agreement and Property Settlement is a legally binding contract that outlines the rights and responsibilities of each party during the separation. The Agreement takes effect once it is signed by both spouses and notarized. You may wish to have a practicing family law attorney guide you through the legal separation process, and for you to understand the North Carolina statutes and Separation Agreement laws before you enter into this contract.

The Elements of a Separation Agreement

  • The North Carolina Separation Agreement has terms that both parties agree to, as long as the terms are not against public policy. The common terms include:

    • Child support and custody

    • Alimony

    • Property division (cars, jewelry, and intangible property)

    • Pensions

    • Life insurance

    • Debts

What Makes North Carolina Special?

North Carolina is one of the few states that allows spouses to keep property agreements, child support documents, and alimony documents private—that means you don’t file them with the court. The Separation Agreements must be signed by both parties and notarized, to be enforced as a contract in court.

Legal Separation as a Prerequisite for a Divorce

North Carolina legal separation laws require one year of legal separation as a prerequisite for filing a divorce. For you to qualify for an absolute divorce, you have to be legally separated for a minimum of one year and one day. In North Carolina, legal separation makes you eligible to apply for a divorce. You don’t file any papers/documents with the court to begin your separation—you and your spouse must simply move into separate households and live separate and apart.

(A rare exception to this rule, is where couples live together when separated, but they lead independent and unconnected lives, with no overlaps or common areas.)

The law does not require a Separation Agreement. You don’t have to file any papers/documents to be separated. But, just having a Separation Agreement does not create a case of legal separation.

Reasons for Wanting a Separation Agreement and Property Settlement

  • Creating your own Separation Agreement enables you to decide the terms for the separation instead of the court deciding everything for you.

    • You decide how to divide your marital property

    • You decide on child and spousal support

    • You decide a child custody schedule

    • You control the negotiations and outcome

    • Without the costly litigation associated with legal separations and divorce

Our website will help you create a North Carolina Marital Separation Agreement. We offer free on-line samples and templates of legal forms, including Marital Separation Agreements that make the process of Legal Separation in North Carolina that much faster.

Whether you live in Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro, Durham, Winston-Salem, Fayetteville, Cary, Wilmington, High Point or any other city of North Carolina, you can easily create your own Legal Separation Agreement above.