Divorce terminates the marriage enabling former spouses to remarry other persons. However, the responsibilities and rights that spring from the marriage remain. Former spouses are encouraged to enter into agreements so that they won’t have to go to court anymore. The agreements may be verbal or in writing. The important thing is that parties do not have to go to court anymore for matters that they can just as easily resolve by themselves.
If parties have children they must make arrangements for them before the court can entertain a divorce application. Obviously the welfare of children is very important to the court. The divorce application must state what arrangements have been made for the children. During the hearing, the court will also be asking questions about the children’s care arrangements. However, these arrangements are merely temporary since the divorce hearing is not decisive of matters pertaining to children. It is just that the court and the law want to ensure that pending the divorce proceedings children are cared for.
After getting divorced, parents may formalize the arrangements for their children through a parenting plan. The parenting plan must contain details that provide for the care, development and welfare of the child. The parenting plan is not a legally enforceable document. Parties comply with their obligations voluntarily and without need for enforcement. However, if a party wants to make the plan legally binding then consent orders can be sought from the court. The consent order will be based on the stipulations made by the parties in the parenting plan which then becomes legally enforceable.
This type of agreement pertains to property settlement and spousal maintenance. These two subjects have something to do with the finances of the relationship.
Property for purposes of property settlement means assets in whatever form as long as they are of value like cash deposits, real estate, vehicles, jewelries, stocks, partnerships and corporate interests. These properties may be brought into the relationship and acquired during the marriage. Inheritance and gifts will also form part of the property pool of the parties.
When parties negotiate for property settlement they should also take into account spousal maintenance considering that the financial support of a spouse will have an effect on the finances of the paying spouse. In court, a spousal maintenance application will usually be held in abeyance until there is a final property division. A party is able to determine his capacity to pay spousal maintenance once the property settlement is finalized.
Former spouses can execute binding financial agreements which must follow the requirements for validity. These agreements can be taken to the court for issuance of consent orders that will make the agreement legally enforceable.