Don't Just Sign It!
Sometimes I have to remind myself that a divorce blog entry does not need to contain award-winning prose to be useful. Waiting for something seismic to write is, in fact, why I fail to do more than one of these entries in an eighteen month period. But, with all the drivel out there on the internet in general, surely I can do my part and add to it. Lol.
In fact, every once in a while (maybe all the time, really), all someone is looking for when reading these things is helpful data to have when approaching their divorce. For that reason, I thought I’d highlight an important theme I see repeatedly with my prospective clients: Signing a separation agreement without ever hiring their own attorney to read through it—even a single time—to see if it passes the proverbial smell test. That’s real bad, people.
Simply put, when you’re going through a divorce, avoid signing an agreement without an attorney reviewing it with you first. Often, I meet with clients who’ve received a document from their spouse his or her attorney drafted. Their spouse may even say, “Okay, so I met with an attorney, and she drafted, like, this really fair agreement for both of us. If you’ll, like, just go ahead and sign it, like, this process will go much more smoothly for everyone. Then we can, like, just move on with our lives.” These words are an alarm bell from the heavens to remind you to get your Own. Damn. Attorney. Tout de suite. Forthwith. Pronto. Inmediatamente. Like, NOW!
Call me (704-750-2017) to discuss how I can help you review a separation agreement to understand what roadblocks might be buried in the legalese you’ve not thought through adequately. Having a consultation with me costs $300 (no, I don't do them for free). But, I can promise having me review a draft agreement before you sign it will be worth every penny. Here’s what I can guarantee you if you have a consultation with me in a situation like this: I’ll review whatever agreement your spouse forwarded you before our meeting. I’ll take notes for us to discuss and highlight key points for your consideration as you move forward. During our time together in my office for the consultation, I will educate you on important facets of your separation agreement that you should be mindful of, areas that might prove dangerous to you, and legal rights you may have which were altogether absent from the original agreement. You’ll also have an opportunity to learn about some other, more esoteric provisions in the separation agreement that are routinely found inside (you know, those uppity Latin phrases that are just bedazzled English phrases that you already know the meaning of).
Once we’re finished with the consultation, you may find you don’t even need to hire me at all (I promise to be honest with you about this) since everything you needed was furnished at our initial consultation. Or, you may discover that your agreement needs tweaking somewhat. I can do that on a flat fee basis or on an hourly basis for only a couple hours of my time (we’ll discuss what this looks like). You may even determine that the agreement needs a wholesale revision and that you’ll want to hire me to engage with the other attorney to negotiate a more robust settlement for you.
Regardless the outcome, it’s entirely worth your time and resources to hold off on signing something your spouse, like, hands you at the kitchen counter.