Sometimes people call and tell me that they have been thinking about using an online service to prepare their Separation Agreement and they want advice as to whether or not an attorney is really necessary.
Usually, people think about this option because they are hoping to save money.
While there is no legal requirement that you have a lawyer, it is important to consider that when you sign an Agreement you are legally binding yourself to the terms.
It is extremely important to understand the issues that should be included in a Separation Agreement and to understand exactly what you are agreeing to.
It is very difficult to use a generic Agreement without understanding all the issues that must be resolved when you end your marriage.
Every marriage has issues that are unique.
It is important to have a Separation Agreement that is drafted for your specific circumstances. An attorney can discuss the issues with you and give you advice so you understand the various ways a specific issue can be settled.
You can then chose to negotiate a resolution of the marital issues with your spouse or have your lawyer negotiate a settlement on your behalf with your spouse’s attorney. If you decide to negotiate a settlement with your spouse, your lawyer can remain in the background as an advisor and help you through the process.
This will keep your costs down and help resolve the issues in as amicable a way as possible.
If you sign an Agreement without the benefit of speaking to a divorce or family law attorney, you may give up rights that you did not know existed.
No matter how amicable your separation is, you and your spouse have conflicting interests.
In order to protect yourself, it is best to have an attorney advice you through the process and draft a Separation Agreement that provides security for your future.