Agreements allow parties to decide for themselves how to resolve their issues. In the family law context, an agreement can cover issues such as parenting of children, support, and division of family property. Agreements may also include other terms. For example, an agreement may state that neither party will have any claim on the other’s estate if one dies without a Will.
Before entering into an agreement, it is important that both parties understand what they are agreeing to and the alternatives that are open to them. Courts are reluctant to change an agreement unless the well-being of a child is involved. Never sign an agreement unless you fully understand what you are agreeing to and are willing to live with the terms.
The information in this section can help parties understand the issues but each party should consult their own lawyer before signing any agreement. A lawyer can ensure that the agreement says what the parties want it to and that the agreement will be enforceable. A lawyer will also advise the parties of their legal rights.
An agreement that deals with family property will only be presumed to be enforceable if both parties have had independent legal advice. Courts can consider family property agreements made without independent legal advice but will decide how much weight to give the agreement based on the circumstances.
Resolving issues by agreement allows parties to make their own decisions but there may be situations where caution should be used in deciding to resolve issues by agreement.
Individuals who want to resolve their issues by agreement have a number of options to assist them if they cannot reach an agreement on their own.
Although there is some basic information that should be in every agreement they can also contain any terms that the parties want to include.