Understand the Difference Between a Separation Agreement and a Consent Order

difference between separation agreement and consent order 

If your marriage is deteriorating, you may be looking for ways to start the separation process. If you’re struggling to figure out what to do, you might not realize that you have options other than immediately going to court to fight things out.

In this blog, we’ll review two legal options that are available to separating couples as alternatives to a court battle: separation agreements and consent orders.

What’s the Difference Between a Separation Agreement and a Consent Order

If you’re looking for ways to resolve the issues involved with a ending your marital relationship, a separation agreement or consent order could help. Here are the differences between them:

Separation Agreement

A separation agreement is a private contract between spouses that outlines how you and your spouse want to settle the issues related to your separation and the end of the marriage. You can enter into a separation agreement at any time after you separate. The terms of the agreement remain in full force and effect even after the actual divorce, which you cannot get until you have been separated for one year. This contract can deal with all issues related to a separation and end all aspects of the marital relationship except that you cannot get remarried until you are divorced.

Because a separation agreement is a contract, it’s not on public record and one party can sue if the other violates the terms of the agreement. Signing a separation agreement is serious, so it’s always a good idea to consult an experienced North Carolina divorce attorney before signing one.

Consent Order

A consent order is similar to a separation agreement in that it can resolve all issues related to the dissolution of the marriage. However, the parties sign it and it is then presented to a judge and it becomes a court order which is enforceable by contempt. To get a consent order, you must file a lawsuit against the other person. And because it’s part of a lawsuit, any consent orders are on public record.

How Do I Know Which Option Is Right for Me?

Being able to get a consent order or separation agreement in place is generally the best option. This is because it means you and your spouse have resolved the issues related to your separation. This avoids going through an emotional, expensive process that can take a tremendous amount of time and effort by having to go to court and have a judge make the decision for you. Determining which option is right for you can be different in different cases, but it is generally best to put property division and alimony arrangements in a separation agreement and custody and child support agreements in a consent order.

RELATED: What Do My North Carolina Child Support Payments Cover?

Need Help During Your Separation or Divorce? Talk to a Lawyer First

If you’re struggling to initiate a separation, a consent order or separation agreement could be the solution you need. One of the best ways to protect your best interests, understand all your options, and make the process go smoothly as possible is to work with an experienced divorce attorney. An attorney can help you take the necessary steps to implement a separation agreement or consent order.

At Myers Law Firm, we have over 50 years of combined experience standing with people going through separations and divorces in North Carolina. We know how challenging it can be to identify the best solution for you and your family, which is why we make sure you understand the options available to you so you can make the best choice possible.

Myers Law Firm: Supporting People Through Separation and Divorce for Over 40 Years

If you need a separation, divorce, or ways to resolve a separation disagreement, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us and see how we can assist you. We’ve helped countless clients like you get the tools and resources they need to imagine a brighter future, even when the present is difficult. If you need help with a divorce or separation in Charlotte or anywhere in Mecklenburg County, schedule your initial consultation by filling out our quick online contact form or calling our Charlotte office toll-free at 1-888-376-ATTY (2889).

We are ready to walk with you every step of the way, providing the guidance and counsel you need to face the stressful prospect of a family law case with confidence.

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.