What is a settlement?

A settlement is a document setting out the agreements you and your partner have made about maintenance, the children, your joint pension and other matters.

Who draws up the settlement?

If you intend to file for divorce, you will need to engage a lawyer to file the divorce petition with the court. No one else is authorised to do so. Settlements are often submitted along with divorce petitions, but this is optional. People often ask their lawyer to draw up the settlement because he or she is already involved, but you are free to draw up the document yourself or have a civil-law notary do it.

Your lawyer can add a request to the petition asking the court to include the settlement in the divorce decree. If a settlement is included in a decree it becomes an enforceable order. This means that the agreements contained in it are legally enforceable. For example, a maintenance debtor can be forced to pay maintenance through a bailiff.

Settlement is optional

You and your partner are not required to have a settlement drawn up. You are free to draw up your own document setting out the arrangements you have agreed.

Including a parenting plan in a settlement

If you have children under the age of 18, you are required to make a parenting plan. This plan contains the agreements you and your partner have made concerning the upbringing and care of the children, among other things.