6 Important Considerations When Thinking About a Separation or Divorce
Even if you’re just considering a separation or divorce, contacting a Raleigh family law attorney can be beneficial to make sure you fully understand what effect it will have on your life and the dos and don’ts to avoid legal liability when the divorce is final. Here are some things you should consider if you’re even considering a separation or a divorce:
Seek an experienced divorce attorney about your specific situation.
It’s critical to seek legal advice from a divorce attorney as early as possible. Separating or going through a divorce is an emotional battle in and of itself. Having legal counsel to guide you through the process is not only comforting, but can help you avoid backing yourself into a corner. As a supporting spouse, you must be careful what you agree to.
As a dependent spouse, be aware of your rights and what you may be giving up. Even if it isn’t drawn up by an attorney, a contract or agreement can be binding and difficult to get out of. Further, having a friendly settlement that was negotiated in your best interest will often save legal costs down the road.
Supporting two households can get very expensive very quickly. Being on the same page from the beginning about who is responsible for what is always the best practice. If your spouse is being difficult or will not agree to anything, seek an experienced attorney for help!
Making Arrangements for Children
Who the children will stay with during the separation should always be a top consideration. Your plan can be temporary and does not have to be forever. This is something that should be considered along with finances, as it will have a large impact on who is responsible for what. Also, make sure you will be able to see your children, spend time with them, and continue to be involved in their life. Giving your spouse space is one thing, but your involvement in your children’s lives will be significantly important in any custody proceeding.
Generally speaking, in North Carolina, you must be separated for at least one year before filing for a divorce, so having a plan for your children during that time is key. Again, with any sort of agreement, make sure to seek an experienced child custody attorney for advice before agreeing to anything to be sure your rights are protected.
Consider Who Will Live Where
As stated above, you must live separate and apart for at least one year before you can file for divorce. That means one of you must move out of the home (absent being awarded a divorce from bed and board). Having a plan about who will move out or where you will live, often comes with several questions.
Who is responsible for the mortgage? The utilities? Insurance? Taxes? Do I have to pay rent at my own place and pay for the mortgage my spouse is living in? This is where a separation agreement would be a significant help. Having an attorney fighting for you and facilitating this agreement will reduce a great amount of stress and ensure there are no loose ends about responsibilities.
Personal vs. Marital Property
Be sure you do not sell or give away any of your property that you acquired during the marriage. This is considered martial property and belongs to your spouse as well. This is true for not only your houses and cars, but for furniture, pets, and items you may consider to be “yours” and not your spouse’s.
Protecting Yourself & Your Children
Are you or any of your children suffering from emotional or physical abuse? If so, contact an attorney immediately. Making sure you are protected when taking the leap of separation is key to your safety and well-being.
If you are considering a separation or divorce, speak with an experienced attorney with Kurtz & Blum, PLLC to determine what plan is in your best interest and to make sure your rights are protected throughout the separation and divorce process. Call us today at 919-832-7700.