From both legal and practical points of view, the issue of alimonies is one of the most crucial when a divorce decision is taken. In practice, the couple facing divorce has quite often a young child or children who must be financially maintained. That is why, there are several methods of making a father or a mother pay alimonies (on the basis of article 128 of the Polish Family and Guardianship Code) for common children. One might mention four basic forms in which alimony decision can be fixed and enforced.
The first option is to get an order as a result of court proceedings. This method is used when the parties are not able to reach an agreement on the matter. However, if the parties find a way out of the problem that satisfies both of them, there are several other options. The second option takes place when the parties come to an agreement in out-of-court proceedings before the case is taken to the court (before the claim is lodged with the court). The third option presupposes the involvement of a mediator who might help the spouses to agree on the terms. Afterwards, such an agreement is fixed by a court decision. Last but not least, there is an opportunity to fix the sum, terms and way of payment by a notarized agreement.
The notarized agreement on alimonies is used when the spouses do not wish to take the case to the court or when a spouse (for instance, a husband) wants to pay alimonies on his own initiative. By signing such a document, the person undertakes to pay alimonies under the fixed terms. Moreover, he or she voluntarily agrees that in case a prescribed amount is not paid, the enforcement procedure aiming at collecting the necessary amount will be carried out. One might deduce from articles 776 and 777 of the Civil Procedure Code that a notarized agreement can be enforced by the court without the need to conduct a separate procedure on the merits. Hence, legal effects of the notarized agreement are quite similar to those of court decisions.
If it comes to formal requirements of a notarized agreement on alimonies, there are several standard clauses included in such a document. Any notarized agreement must contain the date and place of its conclusion, names and addresses of the parties to the agreement (the creditor and the debtor), the subject of the agreement (duty to pay alimonies), the sum to be paid, terms and ways of payment, the note by the debtor by which he or she agrees to face debt collection procedures, and signatures of the parties. It should be admitted, that formally an agreement is concluded between the person paying alimonies and the person who benefits from alimonies. In other words, if the agreement concerns paying alimonies to a child, this child will be a party to the agreement. It means that a legal representative (for instance, the mother) will sign the document on behalf of the child.
Summing up, it should be stressed that a notarized agreement is an effective way to fix the method of paying alimonies which should be widely used in cases when spouses have reached an agreement on details of the procedure. It seems vital to be especially meticulous while formulating the terms of the agreement at the notary, since the document will definitely influence the lives of spouses and their children.