Too often, I have let a client come to me because many months or years ago he entered into an informal agreement with his former partner, which has never been documented, and the former partner has now withdrawn from the agreement. The person my client trusted at the time of the agreement is not the person they are dealing with now. Changes in the divorce decree? It must be sketched, documented and submitted to the Family Law Department. Until men understand the process of divorce, child custody, support and oral arrangements, they will always find themselves at the “short end of the stick”. Never speak for anything, ask them to write it down. In fact, it`s going so well that you might think you don`t need to document the agreement. We trust each other to stick to it – shouldn`t that be enough? Maybe you even wrote the agreement informally, and both signed it – it`s binding, isn`t it? For example, a father could respect a verbal agreement to pay a certain amount each week for child care. But when the mother is asked if she has received help for the children, she might say boldly: “No.” The father is then stuck and cannot prove that he has actually paid the agreed amount in child benefit each week. In addition, any change in the education period is likely to affect the amount of child care paid for, which means that the party may have an argument for filing an application for a change in child care on the basis of the oral agreement. By recording conversations, spending habits and general events, you can get justified claims regarding your divorce or business custody, in the hope of legitimate changes will be made to take advantage of your situation. Sometimes clients show me a handwritten or typed agreement signed by both parties, but unfortunately, the agreement they show me is not a recognized method for documenting their family law case. The agreement can be used as evidence, but is not a binding or enforceable document. Even if you have implemented the agreement that you have reached, the Court of Justice could still intervene, particularly if the agreement is not considered fair and equitable, as required by law.
From the first sign of marital problems to the completion of the divorce decree, the importance of getting everything in writing cannot be underestimated. Laura Walsh said he owed 117,437 $US of support and interest to the children, and the reason they never formalized their agreement was that they were “both tired of legal representations and the resulting emotional and financial impact on the family,” according to court documents.