Mediation & Settlement
North Carolina law dictates that spouses are legally separated from each other when there is no intent to resume a marital relationship, and the parties live in separate dwellings. Unless there is a fault-based divorce, a martial couple cannot obtain an absolute divorce without being legally separated for one year or more. Therefore, it is highly recommended that the spouses negotiate a separation agreement in order to deal with issues that may arise during the separation, and to ensure that the separation is as stress-free as it possibly can be.
Separation agreements can also lower legal costs by avoiding the need for litigation, additional legal fees for disputes arising during the separation, and can make other aspects of the divorce process much easier on both the spouses and any children that may be involved.
A separation agreement can be drafted by the attorney, and will presented before a judge. The judge will then take into account any testimony on behalf of each spouse, and may move to enforce or strike any portion of the separation agreement after hearing both spouse's testimony. Once the judge signs off on the agreement, it will become a legally enforceable document that can be used during the separation.
If one party violates any term of the separation, the court can enforce legal penalties. Moreover, the separation agreement may also be modified upon a showing of good cause to the court, or if the parties mutually agree on a modification.