Legal Separation Lawyers in Greensboro
Protecting Your Rights & Interests During Your Marital Separation
At the Law Office of Stephen E. Robertson, PLLC, we help couples who are experiencing problems in their marriage file for a legal separation. While not required to file for divorce, a legal separation agreement is often a helpful way to determine how various matters will be handled during your time apart. These matters include division of property agreements, alimony payments, child custody arrangements, and child support payments.
Do I Need a Legal Separation Agreement?
Under North Carolina law, a married couple is considered separated when they move into separate residences and are no longer sleeping under the same roof. As mentioned above, a legal separation agreement is not mandatory if you are going to be living apart from your spouse. However, there are several reasons why you might find it beneficial.
Let’s face it – no matter how well-intentioned your spouse might seem before separation, there is no way to guarantee they will keep their promises. Put it this way: your spouse is likely going to be looking out for “number one,” as they probably have done for a large part of your marriage. By putting the terms and conditions of your separation into a legal separation agreement, they will be legally required to uphold their end of the bargain.
The Voluntary Signing of a Separation Agreement
Although a legal separation agreement is a legally binding document, one spouse cannot force the other to sign it. Assent to the agreement must be voluntary. If your spouse refuses to sign the agreement, you will not have a separation agreement in place.
It is crucial that an individual not use coercion, threats, manipulation, or improper attempts to persuade a spouse to sign the agreement. If a party can show that such circumstances existed during the signing, the contract may be determined to be unenforceable. Anyone who has signed a separation agreement as a result of fraud, duress, or undue influence should seek legal assistance immediately.
Typically, both spouses agree to separate from one another voluntarily. However, in some cases—particularly those involving domestic violence—a spouse may seek a “divorce from bed and board.” This is not an absolute divorce, but rather a court-ordered legal separation of the married couple. Under this order, the abusive spouse must move out of the marital property.
A divorce from bed and board may be granted based on one or more of the following grounds:
- Your spouse has abandoned the family
- Your spouse has committed adultery
- Your spouse has maliciously turned you out-of-doors
- Your spouse has used drugs or alcohol in excess
- Your spouse has treated you in cruelly and inhumanly, endangering your life
- Your spouse has harassed you in such a way as to make life burdensome or intolerable
Call the Law Office of Stephen E. Robertson, PLLC Today
If you need help with legal separation agreements, turn to the Law Office of Stephen E. Robertson, PLLC. Our Greensboro legal separation attorneys can help you make an informed decision about what is right for you and your family during this challenging time.