When I get asked about a legal separation in North Carolina, I usually answer by explaining a bit about separation agreements.  A separation agreement is a contract that can resolve issues between the parties like equitable distribution, alimony, postseparation support, child custody, and child support.         Outline:
What is a Separation Agreement?
•Contract in writing
•Signed by husband and wife
•Requires a notary or official certification
•Must comply with requirements of NCGS 52-10
•Must be executed without fraud, duress, or undue influence
What can be included in a separation agreement?
•Agreements on
•Property distribution – assets and debts
•Alimony – amount, duration and termination
•Child Custody – physical and legal custody
•Child Support – amount, duration, and termination
•Can also include
•Estate and inheritance rights
•Rights to pursue other litigation such as alienation of affections and criminal conversation
•Can’t agree to get a divorce
What regarding the differnces between a separation agreement and a court order?
•Separation Agreement
•Enforcement – contract remedies
•Modification – requires mutual agreement
•Court order
•Judicial decree
•Enforceable by contempt powers of court and ay be modified by the court in some situations
Getting a separation agreement.
•Negotiation process
•Classic model
•Collaborative law
•Full disclosure
•Tax consequences
•Legal issues
Modifying a separation agreement.
•Mutual agreement required
•New document with same formality as original agreement
•Special issues of child support and child custody