You and your spouse are getting a divorce. Can you both sit down and work out most – or all – of the details before even meeting with an attorney?
If you and your spouse can have a conversation to identify the issues and either A) agree on them or B) agree on what you can, while understanding where you still need work, then you are far ahead of everyone else.
The reality, however, is if the two of you write and sign your own agreement, you are likely dooming each other to huge future problems. The court system actively discriminates against spouses who create and sign their own agreements.
In short, there is a lot of legalese that goes into a divorce agreement. Leave even a single word out, and entire parts of the agreement could become unenforceable.
Examples include, but are not limited to:
- Alimony: If an alimony waiver does not contain the “magic words” that the agreement is not subject to court modification, it might not be enforced by a judge.
- Incorporation vs. Merger: This one is a bit tougher to understand. There is a requirement that an agreement be “incorporated,” or made a part of, the Judgment of Divorce. If those “magic words” are not present, then the agreement itself might not be enforceable later.
- Child Support: If you decide to waive arrearages of child support, the Court might not honor your agreement.
So, what should you do?
First, sit down at the kitchen table and work out everything that you can with your spouse. Then, schedule a consultation with an experienced divorce attorney to discuss what needs to happen for your agreement to be proper and enforceable.
Adults should be able to reach their own agreements, but reality is reality. Don’t put yourself in a position in which a prearranged agreement ends up not being enforceable at all.
The attorneys at SIEGELLAW are advocates who will fight for your rights and protect your best interests. Call us today at (410) 792-2300, or fill out the form to request additional information.