What Is a Divorce Stipulation?

What is a stipulation?

A stipulation is a formal agreement between parties in a legal dispute, like a divorce. 

When the two of you agree on something, a stipulation may be drafted by you or an attorney. The stipulation is presented to a judge for review before they issue your final divorce decree.

Stipulations can occur without agreeing on everything. For example, you and your spouse may agree on who will keep the marital home, but you still can't agree on who gets to keep the dog. In contentious divorces, making any progress like this can be a good thing. Not only will it help resolve issues, but it will also save you both time and money.

In a divorce stipulation, you and your spouse agree on something. The agreement could pertain to all matters of your divorce, a few issues, or just one issue. Regardless, when the two of you agree, you stipulate to the agreement, making it binding.

Stipulation examples in divorce

While couples generally stipulate to major issues, you can stipulate to anything. The most common examples of divorcing couples reaching a stipulation include agreements about the following:

  • Child custody
  • Child visitation
  • Child support
  • Alimony
  • Possession of the marital home or other marital property

An example of a child custody stipulation

Let’s look at a child custody stipulation example. If you and your spouse have one minor child, you could stipulate that you will engage in shared parenting responsibilities. You will be the primary custodial parent, and your child will spend every other weekend, spring break, and half of the summer vacation with your spouse. 

A formal stipulation agreement would contain much more detailed information, but this gives you a general idea of the types of matters you could stipulate in your divorce. 

The biggest benefit to a stipulation is that you retain control over the divorce proceedings instead of going before a judge to let them decide. While you may not get everything you want, negotiating at least keeps some control in your hands. 

Putting your stipulation in motion

Once you and your spouse agree on a matter, must write out what’s been agreed upon. Be as detailed as possible. This is your stipulation.

You then need to submit the stipulation to the court so a judge can review it to make sure it’s legally accurate and to question both you and your spouse to make sure you agree to the terms. Once the court signs off on the stipulation, you’ll both be legally bound by the terms. 

Need help? Negotiating and drafting a stipulation in your divorce can be overwhelming. Hello Divorce offers free templates and other useful information you can use to ease your concerns about the divorce work in front of you. 


Divorce Content Specialist & Lawyer
Divorce Strategy, Divorce Process, Legal Insights

Bryan is a non-practicing lawyer, HR consultant, and legal content writer. With nearly 20 years of experience in the legal field, he has a deep understanding of family and employment laws. His goal is to provide readers with clear and accessible information about the law, and to help people succeed by providing them with the knowledge and tools they need to navigate the legal landscape. Bryan lives in Orlando, Florida.