We used a mediator to create a Separation Agreement, along with a neutral attorney. The mediator helped us agree on separating our property, child support and child custody. The neutral lawyer drafted it in legal terms. Then, we had each copy notarized. We have had the separation agreement for one year. We followed it, and separated our property. Its time for the absolute divorce. We would like the Separation Agreement to remain confidential. How can we keep it confidential and still have it enforceable? Must we give a copy to the county court at the absolute divorce? Is it still as enforceable if we both keep a notarized copy as well as the lawyer who helped us draft it, has a notarized copy on record? How is it enforced if one of us decides not to follow it (like the enumerated shared expenses for the children)?
A separation agreement can remain confidential as long as it is not incorporated into an absolute divorce judgment.
Incorporating a separation agreement into an absolute divorce judgment transforms the agreement from a contract into a court order. A court order can be public record. It is not necessary to give the courthouse a copy of the separation agreement if you are not requesting that it be incorporated.
Your separation agreement is still enforceable even after an absolute divorce is granted and even if it is not incorporated into the judgment. This is because it is a valid contract with both parties’ notarized signatures.
Contracts, including separation agreements, are enforced by a breach of contract lawsuit against the party that has not done what they are supposed to do under the contract.