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Raleigh Separation Lawyers

Many married couples reach a point in their relationship at which they no longer wish to continue their lives together. Frequently, couples who reach this point choose to pursue a divorce to end their relationship legally. However, there is another option for couples known as legal separation, and in some instances, can be the more attractive option.

If you and your spouse are looking to separate, but aren’t entirely sure if the permanence of divorce is what you want, then legal separation may be a better choice. Reconciliation is still a course of action in legal separation, but would otherwise not be possible, or at the very least much more difficult, with a formal divorce. The process of legal separation can be a daunting one. With everything going on around you, you’ll need legal counsel to help protect your assets and rights.

At Marshall & Taylor PLLC, we know that separation can be confusing for anyone considering taking this step. There are several different types of separation, ranging from informal and formal to divorce from bed and board. For each of these scenarios, the legal requirements vary. That’s why anyone wanting to seek a separation from their spouse should make sure they understand the requirements and that their rights and interests are protected by enlisting the support of a skilled legal professional.

Why Do I Need a Lawyer?

A couple only needs to live apart for the laws of North Carolina to recognize legal separation. Why have an attorney? If there is no paperwork, the process seems very simple. On the contrary, filing for legal separation is very similar to that of divorce. While some couples have an intent to reconcile, others do not. And when there is an intent for permanent separation, a lawyer can help protect your rights and property before things become complicated.

Couples should consult with an attorney to draft separation agreements and property settlements. These are legally binding documents that when signed by both parties and notarized, must be held up in court. These contracts can settle issues before a full-fledged divorce occurs. It is in your best interest to get in contact with an attorney to understand your rights under North Carolina laws before signing anything.

Separation agreements and property settlements can determine how property is divided, child custody, visitation rights, and other various details, allowing the couples to be in full control and knowledge of what they own. Without a settlement agreement, issues will be resolved in court. This means the court will determine who is entitled to what in a costly litigation battle. Don’t let your property be divided up in an expensive court action. Settle the issues with a skilled attorney at Marshall & Taylor PLLC to make sure your interests come first, and that you can keep the assets you’re entitled to.

Difference Between Separation and Divorce

In a legal separation, both parties are still married, and no formal document must be filed. However, we recommend that couples considering legal separation create an agreement, so your rights are protected while both parties are still cooperating. In divorce, the marriage is terminated, and paperwork must be filed. Spouses who are separated will be required to maintain certain court-mandated rights and duties as a couple. This means neither spouse can remarry during the separation.

It is required that spouses live separately with an intent to be separate and apart during a legal separation. There is a legal standard for this separation. The couple cannot live in different areas of the same home even if they do not consider themselves in a relationship. Similarly, couples cannot live in separate houses, but also present themselves as being in a relationship.

With divorce, it is difficult to return to a life together if the couple decides to reconcile. However, this process is much more comfortable with legal separation. No marriage is required again since the marriage was never terminated in the first place. A separation agreement drafted by a skilled attorney will even make the process simpler. After negotiations with a spouse about assets, liability, and other maintenance of the relationship, our legal team can create a separation agreement. Since each separation agreement is tailored to your arrangement and relationship, it will specify what to do in any given situation. The attorneys at Marshall & Taylor PLLC can draft a thorough separation agreement that puts your best interests first.

Types of Separation

Under North Carolina law, there are many different forms of legal separation, including:

  • Informal legal separation: Otherwise known as a trial separation, this is when the couple lives apart from each other for a year or longer, but reconciliation is still a possibility, and sometimes even the goal. The same legal rules would still apply during this separation; this means no remarriage while also upholding the rights and duties. Lawyers should draft an informal agreement in case the situation does not lead to reconciliation.
  • Permanent legal separation: In this type of separation, there is no intention of reconciliation. Usually, there is a formal separation agreement between the parties, similar to a court’s order for division of property.
  • Divorce from bed and board: This is a fault-based separation that is not a divorce, but is court ordered. There must be fault on one of the parties and can be shown in various ways such as adultery, drug abuse, abandonment, and more. It requires you and your spouse to live separately, and it will affect the rights the couple has regarding assets.

Depending on the status of issues, like child custody and property division, these options may be more attractive for a couple than pursuing divorce outright. The process can be overwhelming. Our compassionate, experienced lawyers at Marshall & Taylor PLLC will be able to help you decided which type of separation is best for your situation and interests.

Benefits of Legal Separation

Legal separation often appeals to those who don’t want to end the marriage yet but want separation from their partner. Sometimes, these couples want to work towards reconciliation. Other times, couples would rather be separated than divorced to legally clarify the division of property, child custody, and other crucial matters.

Why Legal Separation May Be a More Financially Sound Decision than Divorce

Since the couple is still married, they will still receive all the benefits such as tax incentives. Another important benefit to separation is to prevent tension between divorce and religion. Some couples cannot get divorced because of their faith, but no longer want to be with their partner. Separation resolves this issue. Since the couple is still married, the spouses are acting in a way that conflicts with their religious beliefs.

Speak with a Separation Attorney in Raleigh

At Marshall & Taylor PLLC, we want to help make this difficult process an easy one. Our attorneys understand that you’re facing many hardships, so we will make sure your interests, rights, and assets are the focus of our work. You are already dealing with a host of emotions, so allow us to handle your case. Let us offer you some peace of mind to take the burden off of you. To us, you are more than just our client. We value openness, communication, and compassion. Decisions made in these agreements will have future consequences that may be undesirable if not done the first time carefully. Our experienced counsel will make sure to meet your needs and protect your future.

If you are considering pursuing legal separation from your spouse, you likely need in-depth information and the guidance of a knowledgeable attorney with a specialization in family law to make the decision that is best for you and your situation. Contact the attorneys at Marshall & Taylor PLLC today by calling our offices at 919-833-1040 to speak with a qualified member of our legal staff and learn more about how we can guide you through the separation process.


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