What is a Collaborative Separation Agreement?

If you are approaching a divorce in North Carolina, you might have heard the term “separation agreement.” But what does this actually mean? What is a collaborative separation agreement, and do you really need one? In order to understand the nature of a separation agreement, you must first understand the basics of collaborative law. This is a relatively new way to deal with the legal aspects of a divorce, and it is proving popular for a number of reasons. With a separation agreement, you can exert considerable control over your divorce.

Although internet research is always a solid starting point, you will need to get in touch with a qualified, experienced collaborative law attorney in North Carolina in order to gain a full understanding of this subject. Not only can our family law attorneys provide you with an in-depth explanation of the collaborative law process, but we can also provide you with targeted, personalized legal advice. Each divorce is slightly different, and the best course of action will depend on your unique circumstances. It is best to book a consultation with a collaborative divorce attorney as soon as possible.

Separation Agreements Help You Avoid Stressful Trials

Perhaps most importantly, separation agreements help you avoid stressful trials. In a “normal” divorce, various aspects of the separation are decided during a divorce trial. In this scenario, each spouse strives for their best interests, and a judge decides who “wins.” This is a highly combative and divisive system that pits spouses against each other – even if the split was fairly amicable.

When you create a separation agreement, you take control out of the judge’s hands and decide for yourselves how you would like to resolve your divorce. For example, you might mutually agree that alimony is not necessary. Or perhaps you will decide that child support should be extended into your child’s college years so that Johnny can pay for tuition. Whatever the case may be, you retain control over the situation and avoid the stresses of a litigated divorce.

What Can I Include in My Separation Agreement?

You can make decisions on various matters as you draft your separation agreement. These subjects might involve:

  • Child custody
  • Child support
  • Alimony
  • Property division

You cannot make decisions on behalf of third parties in your separation agreement. For example, your agreement cannot force a financial institution to make decisions. In addition, you cannot include conditions that would force either spouse to do anything illegal.

You should also know that separation agreements are only valid if both spouses agree to them. These documents require the signatures of both spouses in order to be valid, and coercion or manipulation is strictly forbidden. If one spouse does not adequately understand the agreement before signing, a judge may invalidate it.

Finally, a judge may come to the conclusion that certain conditions of the agreement are not in the child’s best interests. For example, they may be concerned that the parents live too far away from each other, causing an inconvenient situation for the child as they travel back and forth regularly. While all other aspects of your separation agreement are legally binding, matters related to children may be modified and altered by a judge if they see fit.

How Do I Create a Separation Agreement?

You will need help from a qualified, experienced collaborative divorce attorney in order to draft a separation agreement. Generally speaking, both spouses get together with their respective attorneys and start negotiating the terms of their divorce. Collaborative divorce attorneys are specially trained to facilitate discussions and ensure that everyone walks away with a favorable outcome.

Once the major decisions are dealt with, the collaborative divorce attorneys will draft your separation agreement based on your preferences. They will then schedule a hearing and present the separation agreement to a judge. If the agreement is in order, the agreement will be approved – allowing you to avoid the stressful, lengthy, and expensive trial process altogether.

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today

If you have been searching for a qualified, experienced collaborative law attorney, look no further than Arnold & Smith, PLLC. Over the years, we have helped numerous divorcing spouses in North Carolina, and we can help you realize the many benefits of collaborative law. With our assistance, you can learn more about how separation agreements work. Once you feel confident about this subject, we can guide you toward a positive resolution. Drafting a separation agreement may be much easier than you think, so book your consultation today to learn more.