Before initiating litigation in court, Yehuda and Shoshie decided to try to reach an agreement on their own, so that they could save precious time, avoid an exhausting process, and save money. A number of questions arose after they read and clarified the essence of the divorce agreement:
Does the agreement have the validity of a court judgement?
What does this mean in practical terms – is it possible to contest the agreement in the future?
Can you change the agreement once it is signed?
Is one obligated to get a divorce after the agreement is signed?
For many couples like Yehuda and Shoshi the status of a divorce agreement is not clear.
- Only a couple who agree (willfully or not) to separate from each other can make a divorce agreement.
- Sometimes a lawyer will try to bring the couple to an agreement. But if the sides are hostile and suspicious of each other they will only sabotage this process. Then it is desirable that the couple try ASR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) to reach an understanding.
- A divorce agreement includes attention to various considerations, like: child custody, alimony, and division of possessions. The agreement obligates the signatories (signed before a legal court) like a court judgement in all respects.
- Although the agreement is written according to the will of the two sides, it must be logical and ethical, so that for example, an agreement will not be accepted that exempts the father from paying child support for his children unless there are extenuating circumstances that justify it.
- A divorce agreement, like a court judgement is not sealed and locked completely. In certain cases there can be arguments presented to change the conditions or to prevent improper consequences – and one can argue to have it changed.
- Even if the divorce agreement has been signed in front of lawyers, the couple can decide together if this is indeed a final decision or that there is room for another chance. Signing the agreement does not necessitate a divorce.
Dear Shoshi and Yehuda, it is preferable that your differences be solved using a divorce agreement rather than by altercation, especially in family disputes. When the dispute ends quickly and quietly there is a better chance of the two sides coming to terms with the new situation and establishing a reasonable relationship for the good of the children. Years of deliberation and public accusations leave the couple with deep scars, you have chosen the right way to proceed!