Divorce can be nasty, vindictive, and emotional. Or, it can be a cordial process between two people who no longer wish to be married to split their assets and go separate ways that results in a simple agreement. If you prefer having a difficult, expensive and emotional divorce, then that’s exactly what you’ll get. Although, if you want to have an amicable separation where you and your spouse can stay out of court, avoid costly legal fees, and maintain some kind of friendly relationship, then you most likely want an attorney to draft you a separation agreement.

In North Carolina, a separation agreement is a contract between a husband and wife who want to separate and/or divorce. Although no law requires a couple to sign a separation agreement, doing so allows a husband and wife to amicably agree on how they want to settle any issues which arose out of the marriage. Signing a separation agreement, therefore, can save you money, can keep you out of court, and can help maintain a healthy relationship between co-parents.

Although the many benefits of entering into a separation agreement may seem obvious, it is important that you do not try to draft the document yourself. In order to be valid, a separation agreement must meet certain legal requirements such as being in writing, being signed and notarized by both parties, being “consistent with public policy” and most importantly written in a way that clearly captures the agreement of both parties. Additionally, there are legal rules as to how the court will read and understand your agreement. Therefore, beware of trying to draft your own separation agreement! Doing so could have unknown, negative ramifications on your rights and obligations once you are separated from your spouse.

At Conrad Trosch and Kemmy, our family law team has decades of experience drafting separation agreements. If you would like to save legal fees, keep your family business out of court, and/or maintain a friendly relationship with your spouse, our team can help you accomplish your goals.