It is important therefore to understand that even if you have a documented agreement, unless this is an order of the Court it may not be upheld in future financial remedy proceedings, and the Court could decide that a different outcome is appropriate. This means that post-divorce you may move forward with your life believing you are building your future for your own benefit, only to find you are met with a claim from a former spouse many years down the line. To prevent this, any agreement reached should be formalised by a consent order, which the Court can approve once the divorce has got to the decree nisi stage.
In addition, if you reach an agreement voluntarily and do not get a consent order and one party subsequently fails to uphold it, there is nothing you can do to enforce the agreement. For example, if one party agrees to pay maintenance but then stops making payments, without a Court order that person cannot be forced to pay. Likewise, failure to deal with any other aspect of an agreement cannot be enforced.