What a Separation Agreement CAN NOT Do

A separation agreement is often the best choice for divorcing spouses in North Carolina. There are many essential advantages of collaborative law, and it is crucial to be aware of these before you move forward with your divorce. A separation agreement affords you much more freedom, and it means that you are not putting the outcome of your divorce in the hands of a judge. You and your spouse can agree upon virtually every aspect of your divorce, and you have considerable flexibility when it comes to matters like child support, alimony, property division, and much more.

It is also important to understand what a separation agreement cannot do. While it is true that you have more control thanks to collaborative law, there are certain limitations that you need to be aware of. A separation agreement is not a magic bullet that can help you achieve whatever you wish with your divorce. These contracts may be legally binding, but they cannot be illegal. If you want to approach your divorce in the most efficient way possible, it is vital to learn more about these limitations.

The best way to learn more about the various limitations of a separation agreement is to work with a divorce attorney in North Carolina. Ideally, it would be best if you connected with an attorney who has specific experience with collaborative divorce. Our legal professionals can help you learn how separation agreements are drafted and finalized. We can help you avoid many common mistakes spouses make when approaching this process.

Separation Agreements Cannot Bind Third Parties

A separation agreement is a contract between two spouses. Therefore, the only people who the agreement can legally bind are those two spouses. No provision or condition within the agreement can force third parties to take specific actions. Many spouses assume that they can include terms that would force banks or other financial institutions to release funds, for example. However, you can create terms that would force a spouse to make payments. If that spouse fails to make these payments, then the other spouse could potentially sue for breach of contract. But a separation agreement can never guarantee that financial institutions will behave in a certain way.

Separation Agreements Cannot Stop Spouses From Harming Each Other

A separation agreement becomes invalid as soon as it allows spouses to harm each other illegally. This is why many spouses have a nonharassment clause. When a judge sees that a separation agreement could potentially allow one spouse to come to harm, they will not sign off on it. It would help if you were very careful about this because the issue is not merely whether one spouse will be physically harmed. Harassment can be verbal or even digital in nature. On the other hand, you also need to realize that a separation agreement cannot protect you from harm. It is just a contract. If you believe your spouse will physically harm you or your children, obtaining a protection order is probably best.

Terms Related to Child Custody are Not Legally Binding in Court

Your separation agreement can cover child custody, and you can decide how to handle this delicate matter without a judge overseeing your choices. Parents often believe that they can make the best decision for their children without the interference of the courts. However, it is also important to realize that terms related to child custody are not legally binding in court. In other words, a judge could look at your separation agreement and decide that the child custody arrangement is not in the child’s best interests. In this case, they would modify the arrangement in whatever way they see fit. To be clear, you can outline what kind of arrangement you would like in your separation agreement, but there is no guarantee that the court will actually follow your wishes.

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today

If you have been searching the North Carolina area for a qualified, experienced divorce attorney, look no further than Arnold & Smith, PLLC. We have helped numerous spouses draft and finalize their separation agreements. We know how to help you avoid common pitfalls associated with these contracts, and we understand how important it is to finalize your divorce without any unforeseen issues. While there is a lot you can achieve with a separation agreement, this contract becomes pointless if it is challenged or invalidated in court. Book your consultation today.