A domestic relations Separation Agreement is the legal document that sets forth the terms of a divorce.
It contains the details of how the parties will divide their marital property and debt and how much and how long spousal maintenance will be paid if appropriate.
The Parenting Plan establishes how the parties will make parental decisions regarding their minor children and the details of the parenting time schedule. The Child Support Order sets forth how much child support one party will pay the other if appropriate.
Courts typically will not interfere with the terms of a Separation Agreement negotiated by the parties, especially when both sides have lawyers, unless the agreement or specific items are found to be unconscionable, which is defined as “unfair, unreasonable, and unjust.”
The parties may limit or prohibit post-decree modification or waiver of the terms of the Separation Agreement unless both parties agree. The court will typically allow this limiting language unless it finds such language unconscionable prior to incorporation into, and entry of, the Decree.
Unless the terms of the Separation Agreement explicitly states that it shall not be incorporated into the Decree of Dissolution of Marriage, the court must incorporate the Separation Agreement into the Decree, which makes the agreement a court order and similar to a judgement.
A party that breaches a Separation Agreement faces the same penalties and corrective action as a person that violates a court order or lawsuit judgement, including a contempt of court citation and monetary damages.
If the terms of the Separation Agreement expressly state that it is not to incorporated in to the Decree, then the Agreement becomes an enforceable contract between the parties with all of applicable remedies for a breach of contract.