Last week, I wrote about the need to consult an attorney prior to using an online separation agreement or divorce forms. This week, I’ll discuss another problem with these forms: Privacy.
I have seen many clients that use these forms without an attorney. Most of these clients record their separation agreement, child custody (co-parenting) agreement or property settlement agreement with the Register of Deeds. They do this because something in the online form, the form’s instructions or something else on the internet told them that this recordation was necessary.
Unfortunately, once a separation agreement is recorded with the Register of Deeds, it becomes public record. That means that anybody with a computer can easily look up, read and print your separation agreement if it is recorded with the Register of Deeds. Anybody. For any reason. Friends, family, foes, members of your church, co-workers, etc…And I can tell you that people love to know the intimate details. Do you really want to give them access to that kind of personal information?
There are some parts of a separation agreement and property settlement agreement that may need to be recorded with the Register of Deeds. But, a good family law attorney can help you avoid making your entire agreement public knowledge.
I routinely advise clients to avoid this kind of public disclosure of their private lives. After all, if you wanted the details of your separation to be public knowledge, then you could just go to court. But, in North Carolina, there are ways to avoid making the terms of your separation public record.
However, you would not know that unless you consulted a North Carolina family lawyer.
Online separation agreements and divorce forms can be useful. But, there are risks in using these documents, and the loss of privacy is one of them.
Consulting a North Carolina family law attorney before using these online forms can save your privacy.