Arizona has a lot of family laws and agreements that are designed to resolve things as amicably as possible. Especially when it comes to custody and divorce cases, the courts want things to be smooth and straightforward so that there isn’t a drawn-out court case that involves children. The best way to figure out what path is best for your family law needs is to hire a reputable attorney that specializes in these matters.
Rule 69 is a rule that applies to family law regarding child custody and divorce cases. It allows parties to settle their own issues (or some of them) and only rely on the family courts for issues that they can’t agree on. This can save a lot of time, money, and drama in the courtroom, which is why it’s often preferred by both the people involved and the family courts.
Not everyone will be a good candidate for this rule, of course, so you might want to further explore the details and get a better understanding of how this agreement works. Read on to learn more.
The Requirements for Rule 69 Agreements
Arizona has a set of rules for those who are going to use Rule 69 to settle the various issues of their marital relationship and family matters. Those include:
- There must be an agreement in writing that is signed by both parties and/or their attorneys.
- The agreement needs to be read before a judge or other authority.
- The agreement needs to be recorded with a court-appointed mediator or settlement counselor present.
If these requirements have been met, the document can be considered legally binding. If someone wants to challenge a Rule 69 Agreement, they will need to prove that the agreement is somehow unenforceable or invalid. If someone brings a challenge and cannot prove this, they may be required to pay the attorney fees of the other party.
What Makes These Agreements Invalid?
There are several circumstances under which these agreements could be deemed invalid or unenforceable. Specifically, the most common instances include:
- Proof of duress or coercion of one spouse into signing.
- Failure of one party (or their lawyer) to sign the agreement.
- A signature by an attorney that did not have permission to sign for the client.
If any of these can be proven, the agreement will be declared invalid and both parties will have to proceed with their divorce hearing in another manner.
Who are Good Candidates for Rule 69?
Not everyone will be a good candidate for this type of agreement. Couples who still have an amicable relationship and who are looking to get things settled quickly and without a court battle could benefit from this type of agreement. Of course, both parties will have to agree to use this in their divorce and custody case for it to be an option.
Couples who can’t agree on anything or who have a contentious divorce may not be the best candidates for Rule 69. If there are domestic violence or addiction issues, the courts may not allow this type of agreement to be entered because they want more control over the custody of the children based on the circumstances.
Modifications to Rule 69 Agreements
There are instances where a modification of one of these agreements will be permitted. Typically, this requires the modification to benefit the children involved or to improve fairness or equity in the divorce terms. With that said, these agreements aren’t usually very easy to get modified in a family law court.
For starters, there must be an entire year between the creation of the agreement and any modifications. The court will only consider a modification sooner if there is a danger to the child or there is domestic violence taking place in the home that can be proven. If a parent isn’t following the agreement but there’s no violence or danger, there is a six-month wait to get a modification hearing.
Emergency modifications can be approved for new instances of domestic violence or child abuse that are presented to the court. The parent must establish that the relationship or continued parenting time would impact the interests of the child, which will allow the court to modify or restrict parenting time.
How Do I Decide?
There’s no cut-and-dry way to determine whether the Rule 69 agreement is a good idea for your Arizona divorce or family law case. You’ll need to consider all the information here and talk to your lawyer to figure out the best way to proceed. As with any path for divorce, you have to figure out what works for you and your spouse, and more importantly, what’s going to be in the best interests of your children.
The courts are especially favorable toward couples who can agree on the terms of custody and divorce and work out the arrangements between themselves. If they have to get involved, and especially on a regular basis, the parents will start to feel the impact of that outcome. On the other hand, when families can settle things amicably, the courts will see it as everyone trying to do what’s best and they will reward it accordingly.
And finally, if you have a contentious divorce or a spouse that you can’t trust or work with, this might not be the best option for your needs. Consider all of the possibilities and whether they would even agree to something like this—it has to be done agreeably by all parties involved or it’s not enforceable.
The best thing that you can do is to contact the Modern Law team right away. If you’re trying to get through a divorce or custody case without all the drama and drawn-out legal processes, Rule 69 Agreements could be the ideal choice. However, they have their drawbacks and limitations, so it’s always important to weigh all the options carefully. Call us now to learn more or discuss your case and find out how we can help you get the best outcome for everyone involved.