What if she doesn't sign?

Since NC is a no fault state, a separation agreement is not necessary to be separated. You have notified your wife of your intentions and the mandatory one year, one day separation will not begin until one of you leave. There are many reason to have a signed separation agreement though and protecting yourself finacially is one of those. You can settle custody, child support, and property with a separation agreement, but don’t be so quick to give your STBX everything just to get out. Believe me, I’ve been there. In a year you may feel differently and regret giving everything to her. If you are able to, think ahead to after the divorce is over and what you will need to get on with your life. Marital property includes all debts and assets and that is to be split between you. Don’t take on all the debt if you didn’t have it all before.
If your wife knows about your friend and thinks that she had ANYTHING to do with your sepration from her, regardless of the nature of your correspondence, and she has any type of proof, she can sue your friend for alienation of affection. You can sue a mother-in-law for Alienation of Affection if there is evidence. If there are other issues, (adultery, I know you said not but just putting this in as reference material) that could affect a claim for alimony and could tip the scales in her favor.

Thank you for your advice. I guess my fear is that since she is very mad about this situation, that she will turn vendictive just to hurt me. She has that potential and has already made reference to doing so. I know signed papers can prevent her from certain interferrence into my life. I just want to move on and start over and I don’t want to get slapped in the face later because papers weren’t signed. For all I know she won’t agree to the date I leave unless something is in writing. I am willing to be fair. I just want out. However, I feel I need protection legally.

If you do leave take the child with you, move close enough so you won’t impact the childs day to day activities (school, church, friends) but if you leave without the child its called ABANDONMENT and you will lose everything, apparently she already knows about your mistress(call it what you want but her and her attorney will call it a mistress)if you think you’re unhappy now, leaving that house without the child you will be misserable and broke, its sad that the child plays a big money part but they do, but believe this if you believe nothing else, be a parent to your child and everything will work out find. JUST BE GOOD DADDY

I am not sure that the child dictates abandonment. I think leaving the home without consent is abandonment. I would certainly pay child support and have already run that paperwork. I would never leave my child high and dry and he knows he can visit whenever he wishes.
SO…with that in mind…if I leave without papers signed, she will most definitely try to hit me with abandonment. SO, I stay in an unhappy place is what I’m getting from the forum. [V]

Be carefull that she does not try and set you up for false domestic Violence charge! If your child is 16, he/she can choose who they live with. Give him/her that choice. I am sure he/she welcomes the seperation if the two of you are fighting all the time. I would go ahead and file for the divorce and ask for a divorce from bed and board and then let the judge determine who should leave. then, you would not need to worry about abandonment.


Don’t stay in an unhappy situation. If you have made up your mind about leaving, then leave. You can have separation papers drawn up and give them to her the day you leave. Abandonment is not really an issue if you are prepared to finacially meet your obligations to the dissolution of the marriage and to your child.
This is from the home page:

“What if one spouse wants to leave, but does not want to “abandon” the marriage?
We often hear people say that they are staying in a marriage because they do not want to “abandon” the marriage. Abandonment carries with it many connotations in our society, but determining whether or not a particular set of circumstances meets the legal definition of abandonment requires an evaluation of the specific facts. Moreover, in order to discuss abandonment, we need to understand the legal areas in which it is an issue. Only then can we know whether or not a spouse has any reason to worry about abandoning the marriage. The legal claim for which abandonment could become a key issue in North Carolina was alimony; until a dramatic shift in the law occurred in the latter half of 1995. Under the prior law, an important component of an alimony claim involved a showing by the dependent spouse that the supporting spouse was at fault. In the eyes of the law, abandonment was, and still is, fault or marital misconduct. Under the law that took effect on October 1, 1995, abandonment is a factor that may be considered by a judge when determining an alimony award, but fault will not necessarily be a determinative factor. Thus, alimony might still be awarded when the supporting spouse abandons the other but it may now also be awarded when the supporting spouse has committed no fault. Under the current law, in determining the amount and duration of alimony, the court will examine anything and everything that relates to a party’s alimony claim. In order to view the big picture, the court must consider all relevant factors. Abandonment of the other spouse continues to be defined as marital misconduct, so it may be considered by a judge. However, it would be only one factor of many which the court is required to examine. Thus, even without misconduct by the supporting spouse, a dependent spouse in need of financial support can now receive an award. Conversely, if the supporting spouse does indeed abandon the marriage, and thus commits marital misconduct, but the other factors contained in the statutes indicate that the dependent spouse should not receive alimony, then the judge may choose not to award any alimony to the dependent spouse. The crucial effect of this change in the law is that individuals will no longer be as threatened by an allegation that they abandoned the marriage. Hopefully, fewer unhappy couples will remain together in the marital residence due to this fear alone.”
This one is for your child:

I appreciate your advice and information. My lawyer still says do not leave without papers being signed. I don’t understand. I’m still living there in silence. [:(]

Have you given your wife the separation papers? And what exactly is your lawyer suggesting that you do? Get the papers signed and then leave. That makes no sense due to the fact that the separation papers wouldn’t have a date of separation on them if you haven’t left yet…maybe I’m not understanding something. There’s no really a reason to have the separation agreement signed before you leave unless it’s the same day because until you leave there is no separation. If you have made finacial and custody arrangements for your child and have informed your wife of your intentions then abandonment is not an issue.
My husband and his ex didn’t sign their papers until she wanted to be seen in public with the man she left him for and that was almost a month after she moved out. The separation date is still the same.
If you are intending to “date” this female friend of yours then you really NEED the separation agreement signed but as stated previously, if your wife knows anything about her already then even that won’t help. The alienation of affection has a statute of limitation up to 3 years after divorce.
Hopefully an attorney will post on this because my suggestion is to get a second opinion and hire a different attorney.

The lawyer said don’t leave until the papers are signed. She has had the papers for a week and she won’t sign them. She may NEVER sign them. My fear is that if I leave without a signature, and if I’m seen with ANYONE of the opposite sex, that some issue will be called into the whole mess. I have been unhappy for 3 years now. I DO plan to date. WHO? I don’t know. WHEN? I don’t know. I am ready to move on. My lady friend is just that…a friend (yes it does happen). Will we date in the future? I haven’t even thought about that. It’s not fair to have any female drawn into the possible drama of ‘alienation of affection’. 3 years after divorce? That is ludicrous. Why even have a separation agreement then.

So if I’m understanding this correctly, you gave your wife the papers and…did she have any comment at all? Anything that she didn’t agree to and wanted changed? She doing this to make you miserable or is it that she is happy and wants to stay married? You’re right, she may NEVER sign so did your attorney give you any reason for advising against not leaving without the agreement signed?

I do understand your situation, believe me. Not speaking to each other, dread going home from work every day, not even sitting in the same room with each other for weeks at a time otherwise we were being openly hostile to each other. My ex and I went on like that for several years. He was unfaithful with a co-worker and I had an emotional affair with someone I met in an online game (never met in person or exchanged real names). It makes no difference that I had NEVER cheated before, someone finally started paying attention to me and I liked it. It still made a mess of things and I felt guilty. It was no an excuse that he was unfaithful before I was or that we didn’t love each other anymore.
You will eventually have to make a decision for yourself and hope that you make the right one. No one can tell you to stay or leave since no one has to live your life and with the consequences of your decisions. I would suggest that you think about what it’s worth to you and if you are willing to pay the price, because whether you stay or leave, either choice has a price.

Hopefully an attorney will post on this…

I presented the papers. She sat on them for a while. Now she has a list of things she wants disclosure on before she will sign, and indicated that she may never sign. The separation papers state that I will continue to pay bills as we have been doing, out of joint account. The decision upon the house and other assets (ED) will be decided at a later date. She is upset that Child Support isn’t addressed. My lawyer said that as long as I’m still paying the bills as we have been doing that IS child support (if not MORE SO). The papers are to address me leaving the house. They protect me from her saying I’m leaving her high and dry. That is my understanding. That I will continue to support financially, but that I don’t want to live there. So she can’t come back and say I’m not ‘supporting’ her and my son. Also…most all of the bills are in my name. She has never done any bill paying. So I would be screwing myself by not paying them.

Wow. Have you looked at the sample separation agreement on the home site here? Just a suggestion…
Paying the bills at the home I believe would be more along the lines of post separation spousal support or alimony instead of child support, at least from what the Child Support Guidelines are. If she is not dependent, meaning that she works, or has an income then you do not HAVE to support her only your son.
If you are planning to divorce 1. Why leave everything in your name? You can have that switched and eventually she will need to get utilities and everything under her own name so why delay the inevitable and in the mean time pay for two households. 2. Why keep a joint account? If you are paying the bills for the house, what happens when she does get evil or vendictive and takes all the money out? 3. A separation agreement should address all the issues. If you are taking the time and spending the money to get them drawn up, I would want them to cover EVERYTHING. Otherwise, you’re leaving alot of things to be decided later after everyone is hurt and angry.
In my opinion, you are not thinking ahead and that leaves you open for a lot of finacial hurt and giving away everything that you are entitled to, but as I said that’s just my opinion.

I have consulted an attorney and have had separation papers drawn up. I told my wife I wanted to separate, but that I would not leave without papers being signed (as advised by my attorney). What happens if I present her with the papers and she refuses to sign? Am I going to have to stay in a house where there is no talking or anything…just going through the motions? This has been going on for a while and I told her 2 weeks ago I wanted out. I have been unhappy for about 3 years now (we do not share a bedroom and I can’t remember the last time we had sex). Counseling has been tried, but I just don’t love my wife anymore. I just had papers drawn up last week. I do not want to get screwed as far as money goes. I will pay child support for our 16 year old boy and will continue to help with bills until the house is sold. I just want out, I am not happy.

Also, I have a friend (female) that is a friend ONLY. We have not been intimate AT ALL…but we have talked on the phone. She went through divorce a few years ago and has given me some good advice. Can our phone correspondance be used against me?

Thank you.