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Separation agreements can be used to settle some of the claims associated with a separation and divorce. However, it is important to ensure that a separation agreement is draft with all the appropriate terms and executed properly. In North Carolina, separation agreements must be in writing and executed in front of a notary in order to be valid. Also, such an agreement should not be executed prior to a separation of the parties, due to enforce-ability issues.
While a separation agreement is appropriate for some issues, it isn't the best way to memorialize an agreement for all issues. A properly executed separation agreement is enforceable as a contract, which means that in order to enforce it, a suit for breach of contract must be filed. A separation agreement also cannot be modified by the court, which should be considered when deciding what issues to include in a separation agreement. Often times, some issues will be settled by a separation agreement, and others will be settled through a Consent Order, which is an agreement by the parties that is also signed by a judge and enforceable by a contempt action.
If you anticipate a separation from your spouse, or are currently separation, and wish to discuss the possibility of a separation agreement, call us at 704-918-5529, to speak with an attorney.