By Rebecca Winters, Esq.
Rebecca Winters Law
I often have clients come into my office after they have already signed an agreement, sometimes after an order has been issued, regretting what they have agreed to in their divorce agreement. When parties are working toward a settlement to try to avoid going to court, often, one attorney will draft an agreement that they believe represents the agreement of both parties.
This is a common practice to have only one attorney draft and agreement; however, an attorney can only represent the interests of one party. That means the attorney cannot give the other party any legal advice regarding the papers and what they mean.
Even if you and you spouse are getting a long and working well together, it is always in your best interest to have a consultation with a separate attorney so that you may have them read the agreement and explain to you what you are signing and offer any legal advice that you might need, in order to protect your interests and to ensure that what you are signing is truly what you are wanting to include in your agreement.
It is often said that parties will use only one attorney to save money, however, spending a little money up front to have your own attorney read and explain the papers to you could potentially save you a lot of money later. If you decide later that you do not like what you have already signed, or that you didn’t understand it, it can sometimes be harder to change the agreement later. It can save you money on what you spend according to the agreement with things like alimony, equity in your home, or a property settlement, or it can save you money for having to hire an attorney later to try to help fix the issues that you have with your papers.
In the end, it never hurts to have someone read the papers before you sign them, even if you think you agree with all that is included, to help you better understand exactly what you are signing, in order to save time and money later.
(Disclaimer: This article is not intended to give legal advice and is for general knowledge purposes only. No representation is being made that the quality of legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services to be performed by other attorneys.)