Consent order vs separation agreement


I had filed a lawsuit against my spouse for PSS, alimony and ED but we did settlement thru mediation. We both signed and notarized the agreement on the day of mediation and I just found out that it is being finalized as a consent order and not a separation agreement. I read that consent order stays as a public record in the court and I don’t want want that. My questions are:

  1. Is it being filled as consent order because a lawsuit was filed against my spouse by me? We have already pulled out the lawsuit from the court after mediation settlement.

  2. Is it necessary for it to be a consent order and submitted in the court?

  3. Can we not keep it as a separation agreement?

(1) There are several reasons why a settlement might be in a consent order instead of a separation agreement. For example, a court order makes alimony terms modifiable in the future whereas they are generally not modifiable in a separation agreement, and a court order offers the contempt powers of the court for enforcement of any terms in the court order, whereas a separation agreement is enforced by a breach of contract lawsuit.

If all claims in the court file have already been dismissed, then you will not be able to have a consent order entered.

(2 & 3) If that is what was agreed on in the mediation and it is stated so in the Memorandum of Mediated Settlement Agreement, then the settlement will need to be in a consent order. Otherwise, as mentioned above, there are reasons why a consent order is preferred over a separation agreement and vice versa.

Anna Ayscue

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

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