Whether you’re newly divorced or have been divorced for years, you surely realize the importance of legal agreements. Court-dictated agreements solidify everything from child support to visitation to medical insurance requirements for the children.

If you’re fortunate, you and your ex-spouse have an amicable relationship and open communication; you’re able to co-parent effectively and make the situation as painless as possible for everyone involved. However, even the friendliest of divorces needs to be defined in writing…and enforced by the courts.

The current economic state has many couples in a holding pattern of sorts…while they are still spending money, they are doing so much more carefully and thoughtfully than they did in times past. Many are living in fear of layoffs or losing their homes or businesses…and this situation may affect your divorce agreement.

If there are any financial concerns between you and your ex-spouse during these tighter times, it’s important to resolve them with the courts before a crisis occurs. No matter what you and your ex-spouse have agreed upon, sometimes things occur that are out of our control and it’s crucial that everyone involved stays protected no matter what. If you and your ex-spouse have worked out a temporary arrangement for a smaller child support or spousal support amount, it’s not enough to verbally agree. It’s not enough to even have an agreement in writing unless that agreement is filed properly with the court.

Your ex-spouse may agree to forego spousal support for a few months while you are struggling, but if they lose their job in the meantime and change their mind, that agreement will mean nothing to the courts. Your ex-spouse may agree to give you an extra amount of child support over the holidays because you are struggling, but again…that agreement means nothing if they back out of the agreement and it was never enforced in court.

While it’s wonderful to have a good relationship with your ex-spouse, it’s important to remember that words only go so far when it comes to divorce. During times like this, flexibility is good – but for everyone’s protection and in the interest of fairness for all parties involved, contact an attorney for any changes in your divorce agreement and make sure that all necessary paperwork gets filed with the courts.

Rossana Mitchell, Esq., Law Offices of Rossana Mitchell