NEWS/BLOGS ARCHIVE


Writing up My Own Divorce Agreement is Simple, Right? Wrong.

September 30, 2013 by Brett Jones

Improperly Drafted Agreements Can Cause Chaos And Great Expense for Years to Come

Do you want to spend thousands of dollars in court fighting over a mistake contained in your divorce agreement?   Do you want to be fighting with your spouse years later, as a result of a poorly written agreement or the failure to include required statutory language?   Do you want to put yourself and your children through a lengthy court battle because your agreement did not sufficiently protect you?   Do you want to lose out on substantial sums of money, not to mention the money to pay your lawyers as a result of a divorce agreement you wrote?  Here  are just a few examples of potential situations that could arise if your agreement is not properly prepared  by knowledgeable and experienced attorneys.

1.    If your agreement does not include all of the necessary language for dividing retirement assets including pensions, 401k accounts, and 403(b) accounts, among others,  you could lose out on substantial sums of money, such as growth on your share of the account, growth on separate funds contained in those accounts, and, should your spouse(if the employee) predecease you, the retirement asset could be lost forever, leaving the non-employee spouse without their interest in the retirement asset, and no recourse.

2.    When distributing a home, if you do not include all of the necessary language regarding ownership, expenses, the mortgage, and any transfer of ownership,  you could, by example,  be stuck on the mortgage with you spouse remaining in the home, and not able to obtain your interest in that asset.   And, there is nothing a court can do to help you.

3.    Child support provisions and college provisions create a great deal of post judgment litigation, especially when there original agreement was not carefully prepared with the necessary language.   It could be 10 or more years later and you can still be hit with a substantial judgment for money.   Say, you and your ex-spouse decide to reduce the amount of support, by verbal agreement,  but never put it in writing.   Your spouse could later go after you for the difference, and would most likely succeed.

4.     Did you know that a business is an asset that the non-owner spouse has the right to value?    How is this accomplished and what needs to be in your agreement?

5.    Did you know that degrees and licenses obtained during the marriage are assets subject to valuation and distribution as part of the divorce.  How is this accomplished and what needs to be in your agreement?

For any number of reasons,  saving money, avoiding the dreaded  court experience, or trying to remain amicable, people take it upon themselves to write their own settlement agreements and divorce papers, or post judgment of divorce agreements.    While there are  plenty of web sites on the internet that offer information on preparing your own divorce agreements, those sites do not come close to telling you everything you need to know to protect yourself.      If your settlement agreement or divorce judgment, or post judgment agreements are not very carefully written, not carefully crafted to hit on all the points it needs to, in just the right way,  it could create the very situations you were trying to avoid.   It could cause complete chaos in your life.  If could lead to lengthy and very costly court battles  and ultimately, it could cost you substantial sums of money.

We thoroughly understand the difficulties that come with going through what can be a very emotional and difficult time in your life.   While nothing is guaranteed, we have the experience and offer the services to help protect you and your children now and in the future.  Please contact us at Lazar and Schwartz, to set up a consultation with Kathryn, Brett, or Melissa.