Dear In Process:
Greetings. I am glad that you have come to us for questions. First, I want to warn you against drafting your own agreement - always have an attorney draft the agreement if possible. Just the sheer amount of questions you have should let you know that you need help understanding the law and drafting an agreement, especially when it will define your rights and liabilities for LIFE. Now, to answer your questions:
The term “joint custody” describes how decisions are made for the children. Generally this term does not describe the living situation … which must be spelled out specifically in the agreement. While you may be able to get along swimingly today, think about the future. What if you cannot get along, or you disagree. Have a written agreement with dates and times that you use as a “fall back” custodial arrangement in the event of disagreements. Generally, most parties have joint custody in NC.
You need to look at the child support calculator on our website. We calculate child support based on overnights. I sincerely doubt your method of determining child support is close to the calculator amount. The children’s needs include electricity, heat, light, shelter, food, etc. When you ask him to pay for half of these, he will likely refuse - enter child support.
The calculator sets out who should pay and how much at the very bottom of the form. Yes, of course the calculator takes into effect that the children will live with you the majority of the time if you used it correctly. When in doubt, read over it carefully and try again. The percentages are only part of how it is calculated.
Sure, you can place a statement into the separation agreement and property settlement about school clothes, but if it is not specific, it is not enforceable. The parent receiving child support is generally responsible for all the costs of school clothing - unless determined otherwise in an agreement or in a court order. Specificity is the key.
You need a waiver of alimony.
Yes, I always recommend an executed separation agreement prior to leaving, if possible.
You will need a quit claim deed and specific paragraphs in the separation agreement about when your husband must sign the same.
No. You cannot lie to a judge about living separate and apart to “hurry the divorce.” This is perjury and if you ever want to remarry in the future…you will have to live with the knowledge that you are not truly divorced and at any time your ex-spouse can bring this up. Perjury is a crime in NC!
Sure, if you have the correct clauses in the agreement it can be amended, but why would your spouse agree to take on more responsibility than he has to in the future? Get the agreement done correctly the first time - as it is likely that you will not have a second shot at it.
Now, after reading this I hope that you see the need for legal representation. You clearly need an attorney to help you draft the agreement and ensure that you have all the necessary provisions to protect you and your children for the rest of your life. You only get one bite of the apple…so to speak. Best of luck.
Janet L. Fritts
Attorney with Rosen Divorce
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.