Separation is often an alternative to divorce for couples who cannot remain living together but do not yet want to end their marriage. Separation is also the first legal step required by North Carolina for couples intending to divorce.
In order to get divorced in North Carolina, a couple must live separate and apart – in different homes – for one year and one day before filing for divorce with the Courts.
Deciding to separate from your spouse may be one of the most difficult decisions you make, and there are some basic first steps you should take in order to understand what it will truly be like when you are legally divorced.
Talk To A Therapist
Separation and divorce are tough on anyone. Having a support network in place is key to keeping a cool, level head during the process. While this support can come from friends and family, seeking out the advice of a therapist is also extremely helpful. Not only are they there to listen to you without judgment, but they can also offer an outsider’s perspective on your situation.
Understand Your Bills & Financials
In order to understand what it would look like to live alone – rent/mortgage, the monthly cost for food, etc – you must have a clear understanding of your financials. You will have to disclose your finances early in the divorce process so it’s a good idea to gather documents; you also need to be sure you can support yourself and any children you have. Make sure you will be able to pay your bills and support your family without the help of a second income.
Know Your Assets And Debts
Do you have retirement accounts, second mortgages, car loans, etc? In order to effectively settle your divorce, you will need documentation that details all of your financial accounts. Make copies of these documents as soon as possible. An accountant can help you prepare a report that details your financial situation, including all assets and debts.
Be Careful What You Text, Email, Or Post
We know that stressful situations lead to the need to vent. Be careful where (and to whom) you do so, however, because it is safe to assume all emails, texts, and even social media posts will be read by a judge one day.
If you say something online, in a text, or in an email, it is there forever and can be used against you. Before hitting send on your text, email, or social media post, review it as if you were a courtroom judge. If you wouldn’t want them to hear or see it, don’t post it.
Find The Right Attorney
You deserve to have the best representation, especially if your separation ends in divorce. It is important to do your research in order to find the attorney that best suits your needs and will be on your side during the entire separation and divorce process.
At SeiferFlatow, you can schedule a consultation with our family law team during which we will discuss all of your options moving forward. We have the experience and knowledge needed to best support you and your family during this difficult time. Contact us today to get started.