Getting discussions started


I would still do a provisionary agreement (written) with her concerning the keeping of the child–especially if you are wanting it to be DIFFERENT in the future. I don’t know. If your appointment with the lawyer is soon, why not just wait? You can use this time to discuss what you’d like in the separation agreement if she is in an amenable mood. You do know that since she is a dependent spouse, you will most likely owe her support as well as child support, unless she agrees not to pursue the spousal support and get a job.


Yes, the main reason for not wanting to wait is because she’ll be in a better mood. So I gather from your response that it’s OK to “discuss” some of these issues, but don’t make any hard decisions until I have spoken to a lawyer - correct?


I would discuss, discuss and discuss. Then, I would write down what you discussed and if you agreed upon it or not. Then you take THAT to a lawyer and have him write up a separation agreement that you’ll both sign and have notarized. I would tape the conversation if possible. She doesn’t have to know you’re taping unless you think she’ll be amenable to that. You could say you’re taping so you’ll remember better what was discussed.

My advice: DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING unless you’re 100% agreeable to everything. Once you sign, you are BOUND to that agreement. PERIOD. Technically you could draw up your own agreement, but the lawyer does this for a living and knows everything that should be included to protect you.


Update: so I didn’t see a lawyer first, but my wife and I have discussed most everything. I have drawn up a draft for a Separation Agreement based on our discussions. We both want to have a lawyer look at it and let us know if we’re missing anything important (and add/modify the agreement if necessary). We’d like to both go to one lawyer to do this. I’m pretty sure most lawyers advise against that, but I want to see what your opinions are.


One lawyer can’t fairly represent both of you. I did this in my separation and my husband ended up signing an agreement he couldn’t live up to. EVEN AFTER I said “how in the world are you going to to this” and being told by my ex “that’s not your concern”.

In that case, the lawyer tecnically didn’t protect the ex, he protected ME because the ex signed something he would have never have signed if another lawyer was just representing him. Granted, it was HIS agreement (he drew it up and made the provisions). It ended up causing him more trouble and money because we had to go to court to fix all the ‘holes’ in the agreement and to make him accountable for child support.

I highly dissuade you from using the same lawyer…I really do. It MAY work out OK, but it may not.


It is a conflict of interest for you to meet with the same lawyer and lawyers will not meet with the two of you together. The only instance where you may see the same lawyer is if you are using the services of the lawyer as a mediator or in some other role, but not as an attorney offering legal advice.

Before you sign anything you should have it reviewed by an attorney. Even if you believe this agreement will be temporary and can be changed later, you may be signing something that is legally binding and may not be able to be changed.

P.S. Please feel free to bring up this or any other topic on our live call-in show every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. EST. Visit for details

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.787.6361 main fax

Charlotte Office
301 McCullough Drive
Suite 510
Charlotte, NC 28262
Main Phone: (704)307.4600
Main Fax: (704) 9343.0044

Sutton Station
5826 Fayetteville Rd. Suite 205
Durham, NC 27713
Phone: (919) 321-0780


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 only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.


I will try to keep this short. My wife and I decided that we need to separate over 2 months ago. Our plan is to sell the house, split the proceeds, and move into separate places. She is a stay-at-home mom, but realizes that she needs to get a job. She is on a vacation with her friends and had been too busy (long story) to discuss details of all this, so as soon as she gets back I plan on discussing with her. What I have recently concluded is that it will be next to impossible to sell our house the way we currently live. For example, we have two cats that are having bowel issues and therefore, do not use their litter boxes. Enough said. We also have a white dog that sheds constantly on our furniture and a baby that likes to make messes. She will most likely claim all the pets which means they will need to go with her. I am going to suggest to her that she moves out as soon as she is able to get a job. In this scenario, I will be able to maintain the house and keep in order to show to prospective buyers. I will also suggest that she keep the baby on weeknights and I will keep him on the weekends. I have an appt to talk to a lawyer next week, but she gets home tonight and will be in a good mood for a few days (and will soon likely wear off). So my question is, what if any of this would be safe to discuss with her? I plan to discuss details of the separation after my visit with the lawyer, but I feel like the stuff mentioned above is a separate conversation (granted that we make no hard financial, custody, etc. decisions) and I want to get going with it sooner than my appt.