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Settlement is final word on post-divorce interactions

The end of a marriage is often an equally draining and rewarding experience. After the dust has settled, however, interactions between former spouses often do not end, especially when there are children or other situations that require continued contact. California residents who have endured the divorce process may often rely on their settlement agreement to resolve future disputes.

A divorce decree does not automatically terminate a relationship -- especially for parents or business partners. During these required interactions, one party may extend courtesies or provide favors above and beyond those included in the dissolution agreement. There may be a tendency on the part of one party to suggest that the change in the relationship implies that the terms of the settlement are no longer enforceable or valid. This assertion can lead to conflicts between the former spouses. 

The decision to provide a favor or express kindness does not indicate that there is a fundamental change in the previous settlement contract. The spouse who demonstrated the courtesy need only revert back to the terms of the settlement without concern that former interactions set a new precedent. This is one reason why it may prove to be beneficial to be actively involved when drafting the terms of any settlement agreement since only former spouses are fully aware of the tendencies of their former partner.

Whenever a dispute arises, a family court will enforce the terms in the agreement and will not order any changes without a formal petition. While there may be situations that cannot be settled using the current contract, in the majority of disagreements, abiding by the previous agreement will be sufficient to resolve an issue. California residents who are preparing for their own divorce may be best served by consulting with an experienced attorney to ensure that their settlement contract will serve their needs into the future.

Source:, "You & Your Divorce Settlement Agreement- BFFs", Al Corona, Accessed on March 12, 2018

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