The Importance of Having a Lawyer Draft Your Separation Agreement Rather Than Trying to Do It on Your Own
During a separation or divorce proceedings, many couples will seek out ways to reduce the costs. One such way is the use of online separation agreement templates and free do-it-yourself divorce kits.
On the surface, using free online resources may seem like the obvious choice when trying to save money during a divorce. However, using over-generalized materials that weren’t drafted for your specific situation could lead to increased expenses in the long run as well as weeks or months of additional legal proceedings.
If you and your spouse are currently drafting a separation agreement or looking to start one, hiring a lawyer to oversee the process is extremely advisable. Here are a few reasons why drafting your own separation agreement can cause much more trouble than it’s worth:
You might fail to represent each party fairly
Within a separation agreement, it’s important to respect the rights of both parties; not only is it the most ethical way to go about a divorce, but there can be serious legal ramifications if rights are violated. Even if both parties have agreed to a self-drafted separation agreement, the court could deem it invalid if each party’s rights aren’t properly respected. With a high-quality divorce lawyer, you run a significantly smaller risk of overlooking any important terms of separation or spousal rights.
You aren’t trained in state-specific law
In Michigan, there are three distinct types of legal separation apart from divorce: a separate maintenance agreement, a post-nuptial agreement, and a private separation agreement. Each type infers its own set of restrictions and its own level of enforceability in court. If you attempt to draft a separation agreement that mixes different aspects of these three types or leaves out any necessary information, you will likely face additional time in court amending your agreement.
You might leave out important information
If you aren’t experienced in drafting separation agreements, it’s likely that you’ll accidentally overlook important issues and end up with legal trouble later. A highly trained divorce lawyer will be able to clearly lay out all the specific issues that need to be addressed in your separation agreement and make sure each one is covered.
Your agreement might not be legally binding
In many cases, separation agreements that were drafted without the use of legal counsel are unable to hold up in court. The services and advice of a divorce lawyer will ensure that your separation agreement is fully enforceable moving forward.
You could incur a high number of legal fees
Though many divorcing or separating couples choose to draft their own separation agreements or use a generalized online template in an attempt to save money, this can often end up backfiring. Taking a poorly drafted separation agreement to court could end up requiring several days of additional court time, costing each party much more in the long run than a high-quality divorce lawyer would have.
Even if you are highly trained in Michigan divorce law, it can be extremely stressful both mentally and emotionally to try to handle your own separation agreement. An experienced divorce attorney will make the process as smooth, clear, and easy to handle as possible.
Too much information?
We focus exclusively on family law matters so we are always available to answer your questions and help.