A Brief Introduction About the Stipulation Agreement
In court cases, two parties may agree to certain facts without contest. When these two parties put their consent on the same issue on a paper and sign it, they enter into the stipulation. Stipulation means agreement on certain facts. Further, the Stipulation Agreement is given to the court for further legal verification. Once the court approves it, it becomes a legally bound court judgment.
What is a stipulation agreement? This agreement is not a full and final settlement, but it is used to avoid unnecessary court proceedings and time waste. One of the most important utilities of the agreement is to let the judge know about the things both parties agree on and things that need not be argued in court.
This Agreement allows both parties to mutually settle some cases without actually bringing it to the court. The court only has to verify it and make it legally bound, which in turn saves a lot of embarrassment too. The lawyers of both parties also pay a huge role in convincing the parties to get into a stipulation for at least some facts and outcomes.
It should be noted that both the parties may agree to all the facts and outcomes or only part of it, in both the cases, Stipulation Agreements can be created.
Who Takes the Stipulation Agreement? – People Involved
In case such as divorce(divorce stipulation), child custody, neighborhood argument(stipulation of settlement), hit and run, etc. Stipulation Agreements can be hugely beneficial. Such agreements are also common between employees and employers. Generally speaking, parties involved in any legal dispute can mutually decide to take up the agreement. The attorney involved in the cases also tries to stipulate the matter before the final hearing or trial.
This Agreement can’t be treated as a final settlement. It still requires the judge’s verification and signature.
Purpose of the Stipulation Agreement – Why Do You Need It?
Legal processes get exhausting, time-consuming, and expensive for all the parties involved. No matter how small a case it is, the legal process requires a lot of mental energy and time of the parties involved. People want settlement but not at the cost of other important factors of their life. Thus, they choose the stipulation. Through stipulation, they are able to agree on some or all facts or outcomes of a case. The whole process saves them a lot of time and money.
Let’s consider a case of divorce stipulation or child custody. For the parties involved, it must already be a very painful moment, and then they have to go through a trial to reach some sort of settlement. Every day court visits can get really stressful for the parties involved as well as the lawyers involved. So, if both the parties in such a case agree to certain facts and feel no need of argument in court, they get into the stipulation.
Both the husband and wife can stipulate basic facts such as dates of their marriage, number of children, or any other issue that is not in dispute. A few orders given by the judge can also be stipulated by the parties to avoid an argument with the judge and to argue about only the disputed facts. In some cases, you can stipulate to a resolution and avoid trial entirely.
Here are some more reasons why people may get into Stipulation Agreement –
- To save themselves from embarrassing court proceedings
- To settle some or all matters of the case outside the court
- To eliminate going to court multiple times
- To inform the judges about new changes on which both the parties have freshly agreed upon
Contents of the Stipulation Agreement – Inclusions
Any Stipulation Agreement would include the names of both the parties and their basic details. The most important detail in the agreement, however, is the terms on which both the parties are showing agreement and acknowledgment. The parties may also agree on certain procedural matters. In-Depth details of such matters are also included in the agreement.
For instance, in the case of divorce, if the parties agree to the reasons of divorce, the number of kids they have, the date on which they married, where they have been living, etc. then the first page of an Agreement would have these details written with adequate details. The parties must note that the judge can reject the agreement if details are not adequate and are not explained elaborately.
Let’s consider other cases of land dispute; the lawyers must speak to the parties and write down the facts on which both the parties don’t wish to have an argument in court. Reason for the dispute, land size, land value, history of it, etc. can be few such things that both parties would like to stipulate on.
The signature of both parties and their lawyers is a must on the agreement. A statement of the dispute can also be added. Do not consider this agreement as your final agreement and end of the trial. It is only the judge who will first verify the stipulated facts, sign on it, and then make it a law binding order.
How to Draft the Stipulation Agreement?
In most cases, the Stipulation Agreements are prepared by the lawyers of the involved parties. Since this a very crucial document, it should be created with the utmost caution.
Two parties involved should think about their agreement and acknowledgment properly before committing it. They should also read the document very carefully before signing it. As mentioned above, this agreement is not a settlement agreement, but the judges take it into consideration before making a final decision and before giving the final court order, so it is paramount to be alert.
In certain cases, one of the parties may not want to prove a particular fact for the other party so easily. It might want the party to prove it before going to the court itself to increase the chances of winning the trial. Only the lawyers can suggest you on what’s best for an individual case. For critical cases, the parties must remain cautious and alert and should not stipulate facts that they are not sure about. The judge will also verify the facts, so just to avoid a trial, one shouldn’t stipulate lies and unconfirmed details.
Your attorney can judge the case by looking at the court’s position and the hostility of another party. If it benefits you to convince the other party to agree on some facts, your attorney will make those efforts.
Only in the case where the involved parties are not too hostile with each other and still are in talking terms, they should sit for negotiation by themselves. Further, they can inform their lawyers.
Benefits & Drawbacks of the Stipulation Agreement
Court trials are not comfortable for anyone. People want to avoid them as much as they can, but sometimes they become unavoidable, and the parties involved have to waste a lot of time and mental space in dealing with procedures and court appearances. The process of stipulation can bring a little bit of relief for the parties if they are less hostile towards each other and want to avoid a court trial.
- Stipulation of facts
- Puts all the facts that have been agreed by both parties at once place
- Saves time and energy
- Eliminates or reduces the number of court visits
- Creates less hostility between the involved parties
- Wavers your right to a trial
- Fewer court proceedings can sometimes work against you
In a few cases, the biggest drawback of this agreement is giving away the possibility of a trail that could help you win a case. In complicated cases, your lawyer would want the other party to prove even the basic facts to make it harder for them.
What Happens in Case of Violation?
Once both parties sign the agreement, they agree to everything mentioned in it. Further, once the judge verifies it, both parties are legally bound to stand by the fact. Stipulation Agreement is not a final judgment(1), so parties don’t have to worry so much, yet before signing the agreement, they must read all the facts very carefully.
Further laws can’t be interpreted in their own way by the parties involved. Lawyers here help the parties understand the legal language. In case of any breach(2), the court is well within its rights to take seriously against the culprit.
Stipulation Agreement pays a very big role in court cases. This piece of paper should be dealt with extreme precision. The case can be a house related case such as divorce, child custody, home loans, or it can be an employee-employer case, or it can be some other case; this agreement helps save time and puts basic facts in one place.