I thought you said that the couple negotiates the agreement, and then is approved by the court.

Indeed, the couple works out the agreement, but it is not just rubber-stamped with approval by the judge. A judge will scrutinize the agreement to make certain that the agreement and all its contents were considered, negotiated, and agreed upon by both spouses. The last thing the court wants is to have something overlooked or not addressed in the agreement, eventually leading to an appeal or a modification in the future. Although modifications and appeals are common, it is something that the judge attempts in his or her best ability to prevent.