When Is The Divorce Agreement Binding
When does the divorce agreement you sign become binding and enforceable?
It is important to know because when parties enter into a written agreement like we do with our amicable clients they want to know say Tim if we agree to say pay out monies at a certain time when can or should I do that in the future?
You’ve signed the settlement agreement, we’ve submitted it to court and maybe it’s taking a couple weeks a couple months for the court to approve.
So what’s happening during that time frame? Let’s say that you have paid out those monies during that time frame before the court actually signed the paperwork – do you have an enforceable court order yet?
First, let’s talk about what is not an official court order non-binding and unenforceable by the court. Handshake deals, notarized agreements, let’s say you guys sat down and on a piece of paper wrote up a contract or agreement regarding some terms of your divorce, went into a notary and had it signed.
That is not enforceable through the family courts. Written agreements not sent in as a court order meaning you have an agreement even on paper like a handshake deal or even on actual court forms or a marital settlement agreement drafted up but not sent in and not signed by the judge, it’s not enforceable yet.
So essentially any agreements reached between the parties during the divorce has to be submitted to the court as a formal order and not until it’s signed by the judge is it enforceable.
So what we recommend is if you are going to have some monies changing hand and there’s some concern that there might be someone going back on the agreement after they received that agreement or received those monies or the effect of whatever the agreement was, what we recommend you do and what we do in many cases is we will state that whatever the agreement is the monies will be paid upon time signature of the judge and that way you do have an official court order that’s enforceable and binding at that time.