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What is a Rule 69 Agreement?

Posted On June 18, 2022 In Divorce

In Arizona, a Rule 69 Agreement is a family law agreement available to parties in divorce and child custody cases. The Agreement allows parties to settle all or some of their issues on their own and leave only those matters on which they cannot agree to be decided by the family court. This saves parties and the court the time and expense of unnecessary litigation.

Rule 69 Agreements and valid and enforceable so long as they meet statutory requirements.

Statutory Requirements of a Rule 69 Agreement

Parties who choose to settle their issues through a Rule 69 Agreement must abide by the following statutory rules:

  1. The agreement must be in writing and signed by the parties or their attorneys;
  2. The agreement can be read before a judge, commissioner, judge pro tempore, or a court reporter; or
  3. The agreement must be recorded in the presence of a court-appointed mediator or a court-appointed settlement conference counselor.

Once these requirements are met, the agreement is legally binding.

Challenging a Rule 69 Agreement

The party challenging a Rule 69 Agreement bears the burden of proving the agreement is unenforceable or invalid. If that party is unsuccessful, they may be ordered to pay the other party’s attorney fees.

When is a Rule 69 Agreement Invalid?

A Rule 69 Agreement may be invalid if there is proof of:

  • Coercion or duress of a party during signing;
  • Failure of a party or their attorney to sign the agreement; or
  • An attorney did not have permission to sign the agreement on their client’s behalf.

Modifying a Rule 69 Agreement

A Rule 69 Agreement may be modified if a modification is in the best interest of any children involved or in the interests of fairness and equitability. However, Rule 69 Agreements are often difficult to modify.

At least one year must pass before the court will consider modifying a child custody and parenting time agreement. There is an exception when a child is in immediate danger. If a parent refuses to follow an agreement but is not endangering a child, a modification hearing can be held six months from the previous order.

Domestic violence is automatic grounds for an emergency modification of a Rule 69 Agreement. In the modification hearing, one parent must prove the other committed domestic violence. The responding parent must then establish that continued parenting time would not be contrary to the best interest of the child.

Otherwise, the court will restrict, reduce, or eliminate parenting time to protect the child.

Enforcing a Rule 69 Agreement

A Rule 69 Agreement is a binding court order. Any failure to comply with the terms of such an agreement may result in a contempt of court charge, fines, jail time, and additional attorney fees.

Repeated violation of a Rule 69 Agreement can have a negative impact on child custody and parenting time.

Contact an Experienced Rule 69 Agreement Attorney in Arizona

If you would like more information about how to negotiate a Rule 69 Agreement with your spouse or the chances of a Rule 69 Agreement modification, contact a Chandler divorce attorney at Wilson-Goodman Law Group, PLLC. Our experienced family law attorneys will meet with you to discuss the effects of Arizona’s family laws, including Rule 69, on your specific issues.

Reach out to Wilson-Goodman Law Group, PLLC, for honest, practical legal advice that works in today’s busy world.