Did you know that you are not always obliged to go before a judge to decide how to determine your children’s custody in case of separation or divorce? In fact, when the parties come to an agreement, the Court delays (and costs) decrease dramatically.
If you have an agreement with your ex regarding custody and/or child support, once filed into Court, it will have the same value as a judgment rendered by a judge. However, it will have to be approved by the tribunal, thus the importance of making sure it is properly drafted with all the correct terms. Moreover, this agreement will be homologated by the Court, making it enforceable.
Once the agreement is homologated and the judgment is rendered, you can no longer voluntarily override it. In fact, you must respect it. Otherwise, you may be found guilty of contempt of court, since this agreement has now become a court order.
Should your financial situation change and/or your children's needs increase or decrease (e.g. tuition or medical fees) or you have simply decided to relocate far away, you must, once again, address the Court with new requests. However, once again, you will be entitled to file a new agreement instead of having the tribunal decide for you.
Sonia Rotondo, Attorney-at-Law
Alepin Gauthier Avocats Inc.