Filing a Separation Agreement


Yes, this can be confusing. Most of what you said is correct. A separation agreement that is properly executed before a notary is sufficient. You do not file it during separation in order to make it valid. However, it is likely that the mortgage company or finance company for a transaction by either of you, prior to divorce, would want a true copy of your agreement. What they are looking for, in part, is something called a “free trader” provision. This allows you to contact as individuals, without holding the other spouse liable for that debt.

It is possible, that at the time you seek your divorce, that agreement would be incorporated in the divorce judgment. That is something to address in your separation and settlement agreement.

Hope this helps.

Deborah M. Throm
Rosen Law Firm
1829 E. Franklin Street, Bldg. 600
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
919.256.0017 direct
919.321.0780 main voice

4101 Lake Boone Trail
Suite 500
Raleigh, NC 27607
919.256.1544 direct
919.787.6668 main voice

301 McCullough Drive
Suite 510
Charlotte, NC 28262
704.644.2531 ext. 100


Does a separation agreement need to be filed with the county, or just notarized? The lawyer I went to said just notarized, but the one my wife went to said that it did need to be filed if either of us wanted to buy a house (and maybe a car) after the separation. I have not seen anything about where to “file” the agreement. My understanding has been that the agreement is written up by the two parties or an attorney, it is signed by both parties in the presence of a notary, and then the agreement is stamped/signed by the notary and each party gets a copy. Can someone elaborate please?