Start Court Process

Hi, My ex and I have used the website to get legal wording for our child support, alimony, equitable distribution. We agree on everything and are just about to the one year separation point. How do we begin the court process? We’ve seen and heard a lot of mixed information, and are not sure where to start. Its a very agreeable divorce and we never filled an official separation agreement. Do we notarize our agreement and one of us file it with the courts? Is there more involved? I want to make sure we do it right to make sure the assets will be able to get distributed correctly.

Thank you.

Since you and your spouse have agreed on the terms of your separation, you will need to put those terms in a separation agreement. The separation agreement must be signed by both of you and both of your signatures must be notarized. It is a good idea to execute duplicate originals so that you can each keep an original. You do not need to file the separation agreement with the court.

Once you’ve been separated for one year, you are eligible to file a complaint asking for an absolute divorce. Check out our Do It Yourself Divorce Guide to help you with the details of obtaining an absolute divorce.

If you need to divide retirement accounts pursuant to your separation agreement, then you should also include in your complaint a claim for equitable distribution for the purpose of entering Qualified Domestic Relations Orders only.

If you want to incorporate your separation agreement into the absolute divorce judgment, you will need to ask for that in your complaint and attach a copy of the fully executed separation agreement to the complaint. Note that incorporation is not required and many people choose against incorporation.

Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh

Rosen Online | Unlimited confidential access to a North Carolina attorney for $199/mo - click here

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.