Settlement Agreement filed as a Consent Order prior to Divorce

After being separated for 6 months, my stbx and I worked out a settlement agreement for marital assets/child custody/child support and was filed as a Consent Order and the judge signed it and has been filed with the clerk of court as a court order.

We’ve now been separated and living apart for 1 year and 10 months and to save money, I’m filing the papers for divorce myself and I need to answer the following question: Have you and your spouse signed a private written agreement regarding your marital issues (for example, child custody, child support, spousal support, or property division), which states anywhere in it that it must be “incorporated” into a divorce judgment? We do have a written agreement which was signed by both of us and signed by the judge making it a court order, which has been filed with the clerk of court. So should I answer no, since the Consent Order/Court Order has already been filed as a separate document? Also, when I complete the forms to file for divorce, do I need to reference the docket number or file number listed on the Court Order?


Separation agreements can be incorporated into divorce judgments. However, it sounds like you do not have a separation agreement but rather a consent order. A separation agreement is a contract. But since you and your spouse signed the written terms of the settlement and the judge signed it, then you likely do not have a separation agreement/contract.

Therefore, if my assumptions based on the information you provided are correct, then you can answer no, that you are not asking for a separation agreement to be incorporated into the divorce judgment. The reason is that you do not have a separation agreement and there is nothing to incorporate - you already have a court order.

Incorporating a separation agreement into a divorce judgment transforms the separation agreement, a contract, into a court order.

You can include the file number of your already entered consent order within your absolute divorce complaint by stating that all issues, including child custody, have already been resolved in ____ County File Number 20 CVD 1234 (for example).

Anna Ayscue

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

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