ALBANY — In an interstate matrimonial dispute, an upstate appellatecourt ruled Thursday that New York courts had jurisdiction to enforce aNew York separation agreement against a shrimp fisherman who obtained hisdivorce in North Carolina.

The unanimous ruling by the Appellate Division, Third Department, clarifiedits rules for enforcing separation agreements, holding that such an agreementis presumed to survive a judgment of divorce unless the parties clearlyintended it to be merged into the judgment.