Will judge accept divorce papers if separation agreement not signed but not required by law?

I used LegalZoom to prep papers for an NC uncontested divorce. In the divorce complaint, it included separation agreement. This is not necessary in NC. My spouse won't sign. Will the judge still accept the papers even though clause is showing on the Divorce Complaint but is NOT required in law??


Family Questions

in North Carolina Posted 6 years, 1 month ago

12 Responses

Profile Picture of Frank Natoli
Frank Natoli

Founding Partner & CEO at Natoli-Lapin, LLC

Hi,

I'm not sure I understand the whole of your question, but the court will not accept the agreement if both parties have not signed and agreed to it. The separation agreement is the framework for the divorce decree. You can either work it out in an agreement or let the court decide who gets what - this is called a contested divorce.

This is not my area at all, but it sounds like you need to seek some help from a family lawyer in your state.

All the best,
Frank
www.LanternLegal.com

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Profile Picture of Deborah Dunkley

Deborah Dunkley

I appreciate your response. However, I was only allowed so many words to explain my situation and I could not make some things clear. This IS un contested and there are no assets to divide or any children. In NC a separation agreement is completely unnecessary according to the courts and all resources. My concern is this. If the separation agreement had not been mentioned on the Divorce Complaint, this would be moot BUT Legalzoom added the wording to the document and this was noticed by the court clerk. She showed me the Divorce Complaint form that she gives out and it had no mention of a Separation Agreement. This is only added if required because of property division, child support etc. Now I simply need to know if I have to have this unnecessary form signed because it is mentioned in the Divorce Complaint as included.

Profile Picture of Rachel Hunter
Rachel Hunter

Sole Practitioner at Hunter Law Office

Why do this? Many counties have a divorce packet. Check with your clerk. If your county does not have a divorce kit, then get one from a county that does. I know Durham and Cumberland counties have packets that can be accessed online. The only thing is that you will have change the name of the county to your county.

The packets can be accessed at www.nccourts.org

I do not know what marital assets/debts you have or whether you have children or if you even need a separation agreement. The complaint should only reference it if you and your spouse executed one. If an agreement was not executed, then don't put it in the complaint.

I cannot comment on what you have without seeing it, but I would use something geared for your situation and approved already as with the pro se divorce packets. I would not use a form prepared by a legal service as it may not be applicable to your situation or North Carolina.

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Profile Picture of Deborah Dunkley

Deborah Dunkley

Thank you Rachel. I agree...I should have done it that way in the first place but my fear of making an error sent me to Legalzoom. Stupid move. Everything on the Divorce Complaint is correct for NC except they added clause 7 which states" That there are no issues of child support, custody, alimony or equitable distribution pending between the parties as they have heretofore entered into a separation agreement that they wish to be incorporated into the divorce judgement". Then on the signature page ..2) That the terms of the parties' separation agreement be incorporated in, merged with, and become part of, the divorce judgement. There is absolutely no reason for the separation agreement and of course normally would NOT be mentioned. I have already filed and paid the fees because the clerk only caught this clause after I went back to amend an address change. I just need to know whether at this point I have to 1) Amend again, 2) Re-file and pay all fees again OR whether the judge will accept the fact that there are no assets, no complications to require the separation agreement and will let the divorce proceed. The girls at the courthouse do not seem to know...

Profile Picture of Rachel Hunter
Rachel Hunter

Sole Practitioner at Hunter Law Office

Deborah,

Re-amend again and take out the part about the separation agreement. Just say "there are no issues of child, support, child custody, equitable distribution, spousal support or alimony." On the second page, in your prayer for relief, you can take out the part about incorporation and merger of the divorce decree. See if your husband will consent to the amendment if consent is required.

See NC Rule of Civ. Pro. 15 -
http://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_1A/GS_1A-1,_Rule_15.html

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Profile Picture of Carrie Yutzy

Carrie Yutzy

Hi Deborah,
We'd be happy to answer any questions about your divorce documents. That's what we're here for! You can contact supervisor Carlos Villegas directly at 800.773.0888 x3607 or Jason Jackson at x7061. They're available M-F, 6am-7pm, PST and either of them will be glad to help. We will try to contact you as well.

Best,
Carrie
LegalZoom

Profile Picture of Kenny Leu

Kenny Leu

haha i'm glad LawPivot has been helpful to more people than just our own users. ;)

Profile Picture of Deborah Dunkley

Deborah Dunkley

Hi Carrie, Thank you for the offer to help but to be honest, I have been in communication with someone at LegalZoom and I have basically not been helped at all. Basically, if you must know, 1) Errors were made on the documents regarding defendants address - even though Legalzoom apparently take an extra 3 days before mailing docs due to their 'Thorough Document Review Process'. I had already filed at the courthouse and caught the error before I mailed to the defendant. I called Legalzoom who said changes would take 5 to 8 business days. I complained and was told new docs would be emailed. I had to call again next day and most were emailed BUT WERE STILL WRONG. A manager called Greg intervened to help at that point.I got the new docs and had them signed and notarized AGAIN and took them to the courthouse at cost of $15 plus gas plus parking. This time the clerk noticed the separation agreement entry on the Divorce Complaint and now I need one. I called LegalZoom again to complain because I KNEW the defendant would not get the docs back to me. Greg told me he would do what he could to help and put a $300 CREDIT on my account. I sent the sep papers out and After 2 weeks of waiting for the docs back from the defendant and realizing they were not coming, I called legalZoom for that 'help' Greg had offered but was told he could not. Today I amended the docs myself, refiled at the courthouse -paid AGAIN and have decided I will NEVER use Legalzoom EVER again.KEEP the credit

Profile Picture of Kenny Leu

Kenny Leu

I'm sorry to hear that you've been having so much difficulty with your legal issues.

It sounds kind of like you've had some great discussions with Frank Natoli or Rachel Hunter. If you call us at (888) 557-5336, we can give you their contact information. :)

Profile Picture of Carrie Yutzy

Carrie Yutzy

Hi Deborah,

Sivetra, from our Customer Care management team, let us know that she was able to speak with you directly about our mistakes. Your comments and experience are important to us and we appreciate your feedback. Please be reassured that we will follow up with our product team to determine where improvements need to be made.

Please contact Sivetra directly if we can assist you in the future. Again, we’re terribly sorry for all of your trouble.

Best,
Carrie
LegalZoom

Profile Picture of Deborah Dunkley

Deborah Dunkley

Carrie,
I just spoke with Carlos. He apologized for the way I had been treated and immediately offered me a full refund. He even said he would refund more if he could to compensate the extra out of pocket expenses I have experienced because of these issues. He suggested that simply applying a 'credit' to my account as was previously done was even a little insulting. I appreciate his and your follow up and wish I had spoken to someone as conscientious as you when all this was going on. I do feel I probably did not experience Legalzoom at its most shining moment but it seriously begs the question, " How many LegalZoom customers are getting poor service and never complain due to the current legal problems they may be experiencing at the time?" Anyway...I hope that things go smoothly for me from now on and I will put this all down to experience. Thank you all for your suggestions .......Thank Goodness for LawPivot

Profile Picture of Kenny Leu

Kenny Leu

LegalZoom is a very reputable competitor of ours, so we're very sorry to hear about this, but we appreciate your support!

Please let us know how else we can help!

Profile Picture of Carrie Yutzy

Carrie Yutzy

Thanks, Deborah. We appreciate that you understand things usually go more smoothly and apologize that you experienced us at less than our best. Glad it's worked out now. Of course you should feel free to contact us if you have any further questions or issues.

Happy holidays!
Carrie

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