Once a couple has agreed upon the terms of divorce, a Separation Agreement is normally prepared by legal counsel. In North Carolina, the Separation Agreement does not have to be made part of the court record. It is important to understand the consequences and/or benefits of incorporating (or not incorporating) an agreement before you execute it.

If an Agreement is not be incorporated (made part of the Court record), by reference or otherwise, in any final judgment of divorce, the Agreement and the terms hereof are not be made generally known to the public, and the Agreement will not be recorded in the county’s public registry.

Incorporating a Separation Agreement has significant consequences. The contract becomes a court order. Contract remedies are no longer available but the contempt power of the court is. Some provisions become subject to modification (including alimony), and remarriage and cohabitation will terminate spousal support provisions.

Refer to The Rosen Law Firm’s article on enforceability of an alimony decree (see the link below). However, understanding what the legal jargon in that article means might require more legal knowledge than you have. It’s important to ask your attorney who is preparing or reviewing your Separation Agreement whether or not your agreement should be incorporated into the court’s record. https://www.rosen.com/alimony/afaqs/can-an-alimony-decree-be-enforced/