How Do I Execute a Family Law Agreement?

From Clicklaw Wikibooks

The most common family law agreements are:

  • cohabitation agreements, used when a couple plan on living together but don't plan on marrying,
  • marriage agreements, used when a couple plan to marry, and
  • separation agreements, used when married spouses or unmarried spouses have separated.

Other agreements might include interim agreements, made after negotiations have started but before a final settlementA resolution of one or more issues in a court proceeding or legal dispute with the agreement of the parties to the proceeding or dispute, usually recorded in a written agreement or in an order that all parties agree the court should make. A court proceeding can be settled at any time before the conclusion of trial. See "action," "consent order," "family law agreements" and "offer.", parenting agreements, trustIn law, a form of possession of property in which a "trustee" keeps and manages property for the benefit of another person, the "beneficiary," without owning that property and usually without acquiring an interest in that property other than as payment for their services. The trustee holds the property ''in trust'' for the beneficiary. See "constructive trust," "ownership," "possession" and "resulting trust." agreements, confidentiality agreements and so on.

Execution

All family law agreements are executed in the same way: the person making the agreement signs it in the presence of someone else, while that person watches. That's it!

Witnesses

The person who witnesses the signature can be anybody, with just a few exceptions. Witnesses must be 19 years of age or older, they must be sane, and they shouldn't be another partyIn law, a person named as an applicant, claimant, respondent or third party in a court proceeding; someone asserting a claim in a court proceeding or against whom a claim has been brought. See "action" and "litigant." to the agreement or someone who stands to benefit from the agreement. It is not necessary to pay to have a lawyerA person licensed to practice law in a particular jurisdiction. See "barrister and solicitor." or notary publicA person authorized to administer affirmations and oaths, and to execute or certify documents. All lawyers are notaries public in addition to being barristers and solicitors. See "barrister and solicitor.” serve as witnessA person with direct, personal knowledge of facts and events; a person giving oral evidence in court on oath or affirmation as to the truth of the evidence given. See "affirm," "evidence," "oath" and "opinion evidence.".

The role of the witness is to simply say that the witness knew the person signing the agreement and saw they sign the agreement: "I saw Frank sign the agreement, and I knew it was Frank because Frank has been my neighbour for the last six years" or "I saw Ming sign the agreement, and I knew it was Ming because I saw her driver's licence and the picture matched Ming's appearance and the name on the licence matched the name on the agreement."

Signing the agreement does not make the witness a party to the agreement or put the witness under any obligationA duty, whether contractual, moral or legal in origin, to do or not do something. See "duty." at all to either party.

Signing the agreement

Family law agreements are executed by having each of the parties sign their names, using their normal signatures, in a spot on the last page of the agreement that looks like this:

SIGNED by Yitzhak    )

on April 20, 2013,   )
at Salmon Arm, BC,   )
in the presence of:  )
                     )
___________________  )  ___________________
Signature            )  YITZHAK BERNSTEIN
___________________  )
Name                 )
___________________  )
Occupation           )
___________________  )
Address              )

___________________  )

The party to this agreement, Yitzhak in this case, signs his normal signature above the line on the right. The witness signs above the top line on the left and fills out the extra information about the witness' address and occupation.

It is also a good idea (but not required) that each of the parties and the witnesses initial each page of the agreement other than the page with the parties' signatures.

An agreement that has been executed by both parties is called a perfectedIn contract law, finished, legally complete and enforceable; executed. A "perfected" agreement is one that has been dated and signed by all parties in the presence of one or more witnesses. agreement.

For more information

You can find more information about making and executing a family law agreementAn agreement between two or more persons about family law issues that have arisen or made arise, dealing with their respective rights and obligations to one another, which the parties expect will be binding on them and be enforceable in court. Typical family law agreements include marriage agreements, cohabitation agreements and separation agreements. in the chapter Family Law Agreements.


Creativecommonssmall.png JP Boyd on Family Law © John-Paul Boyd and Courthouse Libraries BC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada Licence.
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