Can a judge force me to sign a Free Trader Agreement


Recently separated, and have a signed separation agreement (or consent order). Now my wife wants me to
sign an FTA and I refuse. Apparently she has a closing on a new house Sept 9th. However, we still have our
marital home on the market and I am making all the payments, etc. she is living in it.
Anyway the question is can a judge force me to sign an FTA? . .

My wife seems to think they can, but to me that sounds crazy. If it were true then I wouldn’t really have the rights
that I am signing away so my signature would be meaningless anyway imo. There is nothing in the separation
agreement that requires me to sign one.


No. You can refuse to sign a Free Trader agreement.


By the way, she can file to obtain a divorce from bed and board, which is a judicially enforced separation that cuts off certain inchoate rights that arise out of being married. She will then be able to purchase the new house, but she will need to get a divorce from b&b first, which will require her to prove some sort of fault on your part (such as adultery, cruelty, habitual drunkeness).


As a follow up, the motion filed by the OA was to.

  1. Force me to sign an FTA
  2. Alternatively make an order “divesting Plaintiff of any right, title or interest that may arise
    as a result of defendants purchase …”

The judge dismissed #1 outright, and also made it clear that #2 didn’t really apply since at this time neither of us had any rights to the property so there were no rights to divest. it was kind of a catch 22 for her, since she needed the agreement signed in order to get the loan.

I was told, that the latter, #2, was really a judgement call made by the judge and could have gone either way at least in Orange county, Nc. Since it was clear from judges statements/questions that I was going to win, we negotiated an amendment to the original consent order, requiring her to pay me ‘rent’ for the marital home until it sells regardless of whether or not she lives there.

So, finally a win for me!


Congrats! I wish you continued success.