My Story….Page 9…"Don't Sign Anything"

I remember the early days as though they occurred just yesterday.  The pain, the shock, the betrayal.  So now, in dealing with all these unpleasant emotions, I am presented with a document.  The heading, "Separation Agreement and Property Settlement".  The man that was declaring his undying friendship was now politely asking me to sign on the dotted line.  He said it was easy and that in essence all would remain the same except he would no longer be part of my reality.  We could just get together with his attorney and I could choose one of the attorneys that she knew and worked well with.  He gave me a list of names for said attorneys.  (I did call all on the list to get a price for a consultation).
I was warned by so many who have gone through this not to sign anything.  I was warned by a few that their X played the "undying friendship" game with them. They said it was all a lie and that he was not planning on being a friend.  My coworkers, my patients, my boss, my friends all warned me.  Even people that he used to pastor while he was at Hope Creek Church, said to me, that they too were glad I did not sign.  Many had stories of their own.
So why not sign you ask?  First off it is hard to understand the legal jargon.  Example….

Release of Estate and Beneficiary Rights. 
*"Except as otherwise provided herein, each party hereby waives, relinquishes,
renounces and quitclaims unto the other any and all rights, title,
interest and control he or she may now have or shall hereafter
acquire under the present or future laws of any jurisdiction, in,
to or over the person, property or estate of the other, arising by
reason of their marital relationship or under any previously
executed instrument or will, made by either of them, including, but
not limited to, dower, curtesy, statutory allowance, widow’s
allowance, homestead rights, right to take in event of intestacy,
right to any share as the surviving spouse, right to claim a life
estate in real property, right to take against the last will and
testament of the other or to dissent therefrom, right to claim an
elective share, right of election, right to act as administrator or
executor of the estate of either, and any and all other rights,
title or interest of any kind in and to any said property or estate
of any kind of the other."
My goodness, that has to be a run on sentence.  I still don't understand everything that was hidden in the jargon.  Gives me a headache just trying to decipher its content.

Here are a few of the things I did understand in the extremely long document (this document was later used in court as Exibit 12)…

*WHEREAS, as a result of certain irreconcilable differences and
disagreements,  (I was not aware of any at the time, I am now)

*Retirement Benefits. By reason of Husband's
employment, he is a participant in LabCorp’s 401(k) Plan,
administered through Fidelity, with an approximate date of
separation balance of $. All of Husband's interest in
said Plan shall be and become the sole and separate property of
Husband, and Wife waives, relinquishes and renounces any and all
interest in and to the same. (I had no retirement benefits.  I worked part time and depended on X  for retirement benefits.  Pretty much the same statement with the Church of the Nazarene Retirement Benefits.)

*Doctrine of Necessaries. Each party shall be solely
responsible for his or her own medical, dental or other health care
expenses of any kind whatsoever, both as to any which are
currently outstanding and those which may be incurred in the
future, and each party shall indemnify and hold the other harmless
on same. Each party expressly waives and rejects the application
of the Doctrine of Necessaries as defined under North Carolina law,
or any similar law of another jurisdiction. (X carried our heath insurance through his company.I have no benefits through my job)

*Release of Certain Third-Party Claims. Each party does
hereby release and discharge any third party from all causes of
action or claims for alienation of affection, criminal
conversation, emotional distress, or similar tort related to or
arising out of any relationship between such third party and the
other party, whether said cause of action or claim presently exists
or hereafter accrues, and whether based on past, present or future
acts. Each party does hereby covenant and agree that he or she
will not institute or pursue such an action or claim against any
third party, and that such institution or pursuit would constitute
a material breach of this Agreement. Further, any such third party
is deemed to be a beneficiary of this Agreement, and the provisions
of this Agreement may be pleaded by such third party in total and
absolute bar of such an action or claim.  
(Interesting.  This sure did not apply to me.  X is the first and only "man" I have had sex with.  I wonder why he put that in there?  My attorney said that usually third party protection is written into an agreement for a reason.)

*Article 3 #2 states that "in the event that the husband remarries his alimony obligation to Wife" would actually decrease.  (Not my fault if X remarries) 

*Disclosure and Inducement. The parties have been advised
by their respective attorneys of their right to compel discovery
and inspection of the business and personal financial books and
records of the other party and of their rights to have accountants,
appraisers and others investigate, appraise and evaluate any and
all of the personal and business assets of the other. Each party
specifically waives the further exercise of these rights and has
instructed his or her respective attorneys not to take any further
measure themselves, or through others, with respect to the
discovery, inspection, investigation, appraisal or evaluation of
the personal and/or business property and assets of the other
party. The decision of the parties not to exercise further rights
of disclosure and discovery is based upon the acknowledgment by
each party that he and she are satisfied with the disclosure as
presently made of the financial circumstances of the other party,
including but not limited to income, income potential, marital,
separate and divisible property of the other and all other aspect
of the present and prospective financial circumstances of the other
party. Each party acknowledges and agrees that a claim based upon
incomplete financial disclosure will not be a basis for
invalidating or changing any of the terms of this agreement, and
each is content to proceed on the basis of knowledge as it
presently exists.  (If I understand this correctly I sure am glad I did not sign or I would have not known what I know today)

This is but a tiny taste of a very long and confusing document. Lucky for me I did listen to my friends and coworkers.  I did not sign and I did go on to find an amazing attorney, not one on X's list, who was able to see all the red flags that were hidden, in plain view from me, in this document.  

If you find your self in this situation.  Think before you act.  Don't take things at face value.  Draw close to God because he holds your hand.  Go out with friends.  Make new friends. Force yourself to find God's joy and beauty that are right in front of you/us if we just look.

I pray God's peace and strength for you on your journey.



  1. That's okay. You're bound to resolve that and have all the legal resources, which you may need continually available. Just be patient about it, and everything will all come settling in for you. All the best!

    Joanne Krueger @ Kurtz & Blum


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