Seperation without an attorney

You can do a separation agreement without an attorney but I would STRONGLY suggest that you have any such agreement reviewed by attorney before signing.

Little things that seem OK and harmless can have big ramifications over the long haul that are not readily apparent and some statements placed in boilerplate agreements can be nearly impossible to enforce but may cause serious problems.

A good example is the problem of the clause phrased “no overnights with members of the opposite sex not related by blood or marriage” when you have custody of the kids. Seems like a good idea at face value, but what happens if your best friend from college comes to visit and brings her husband? Technically, you are in violation if he stays in your house. As Helena said about how courts will deal this clause: “When it comes to romantic partner provisions it is hard to determine what the court will do.” Such ambiguity opens up a whole world of trouble. Save yourself any such trouble…get an attorney to review things.


You don’t HAVE to have a separation agreement before obtaining a divorce or equitable distribution of property, although it is recommended that you do. You may file an action of equitable distribution up until the divorce judgement. You are entitled to a percentage of the marital assets, even if you are the one to leave, however, for smaller items, it may be best to sort those out and take them before you leave. Easier to take them right off than try to regain possession when you leave, should things turn sour during the period of separation.

No, you will not lose the rights to the equity in your home unless a divorce is granted before you execute an agreement for equitable distribution or a lawsuit is filed. However, you should have an attorney review any legal document you intend to file.

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.

If I don’t get a legal seperation through an attorney will I lose my rights to the equity of our home and child support if I am the one to leave? He thinks we can do it without an attorney. Thanks