If you and your spouse are fighting over your divorce, you will no doubt be relieved when you finally come to an agreement about property division, spousal and child support, and child custody. However, simply settling your conflict in principle is not enough; you need a well-drafted divorce settlement agreement to document those details clearly and concisely. Without that, you may end up with legal problems down the road. That’s why it pays to have your attorney do a careful review of the agreement if it is prepared by your spouse’s attorney to ensure it minimizes potential disputes in the future and protects your rights.
Is the Divorce Settlement Agreement Well-Drafted?
A divorce settlement agreement must be well-written with terms spelled out in a precise and succinct manner. A document that is too wordy, redundant or ambiguous may lead to litigation in the future. Unfortunately, some attorneys are better at drafting contracts than others. If a poor writer drafts the agreement, it’s up to the other attorney to correct it so it doesn’t hurt his or her client.
Should You Pay for Your Attorney to Review and Rewrite the Divorce Settlement Agreement?
You may feel that if your spouse’s attorney drafted an agreement, you shouldn’t have to pay extra to have your attorney rewrite the contract. However, allowing your attorney to revise the agreement may be money well spent. By helping to remove ambiguities, he or she is saving you from potential legal action in the future. In addition, your attorney can neutralize any one-sided language in the agreement so that it applies equally to both sides.
This is important because if there is a dispute, the court can only look to the language of the agreement to decide the issue. While your understanding of the contract is, of course, important, it’s how the terms are written that determines who wins as the court cannot read anything into the agreement that contradicts the express language contained therein. Therefore, it is imperative that the terms clearly express your intent at the time you signed the document. It is very difficult to challenge or set aside an agreement after signing.
What If You Don’t Understand What Is Written in the Divorce Settlement Agreement?
Settlement agreements are frequently filled with legal jargon that is hard for nonlawyers to understand. That language is often necessary to include in the agreement because the law requires it. However, you should feel free to talk with your attorney about this and have him or her explain the provisions so you feel comfortable with signing the document.
If you are considering divorce, it is important to get an attorney you can trust to skillfully handle your divorce matters and protect your interests. Contact us to learn about our experience and how we can help you with your divorce.