Informal Agreements: What are They Good For?

I can’t tell you how many times a client has walked in the room with a sheet of paper if their hand, and a look of satisfaction on their face, because they have already sown up their family law case. The parties have written down everything they want to do, they have signed it, and even got it notarized for good measure. Well, congratulations, you very likely have what I would consider a jumping off point for negotiations.

That’s right, folks. You cannot make binding agreements between the parties outside certain, very specific, parameters. All too often, I will take that carefully drafted, hand-written document and memorialize it into a binding form, send it over to the other side, and get laughed at by opposing counsel. “They aren’t willing to agree to any of that.” “That was done in bad faith.” “That was before my client consulted with me.” And you know what, there isn’t a thing you can do about it. You likely won’t even be allowed to talk about at trial, as it will likely be considered inadmissible evidence.

So what do we do? Well, in my experience, it is crucial to strike while the iron is hot. If both sides agree today, there is a greater chance that they will make the same or similar agreements tomorrow than if you wait longer. An experienced family attorney will know exactly what form your agreement needs to take based on your particular situation, be it a Rule 11 Agreement, an Informal Settlement Agreement, or even a Mediated Settlement Agreement. To speak with an experienced family law attorney today, contact us here.