If you are getting a divorce, you will be well-served by drawing up a marital settlement agreement between you and your spouse. A marital settlement agreement is a detailed legal document that addresses property and debt division, child custody, spousal and child support (where applicable).
If you and your spouse own a home, real estate, or have acquired any measurable assets during the course of your marriage, the marital settlement agreement will be one of the most important, legally-enforceable documents in your divorce.
With a well-drafted marital settlement agreement, you can ensure that you are obtaining your fair share of the marital property and starting the next chapter of your life in the best possible financial situation.
Why You Need Legal Representation
It is important to have a marital settlement agreement, and it is equally important to ensure that you are adequately represented during your divorce proceedings.
If your husband or wife has hired their own divorce attorney and your spouse encourages you to share his or her lawyer, you do not want to accept their offer. Instead, you should seek your own legal representation.
While you are not legally required to retain your own divorce attorney during the settlement negotiations, or even required to hire a divorce lawyer at all, it does not mean that you should represent yourself or let your spouse's attorney handle all of the paperwork.
If you forgo legal representation and your spouse hires their own divorce attorney, you must understand that your spouse is the attorney's client, not you. This means your spouse's attorney has a vested interest in looking out for your spouse's "best interests" when drawing up the marital settlement agreement.
When Your Spouse Offers a Settlement
If your spouse hires a divorce attorney and you do not, then when your spouse draws up a marital settlement agreement, you can be certain that your spouse's lawyer has advised him or her of their legal rights and responsibilities and meanwhile, you are in the dark about yours.
All too often, an unrepresented spouse will be offered an unfair settlement and because they do not know their legal rights, they will accept the offer. Other times, they can feel strong-armed into accepting a bad settlement because they lack proper representation.
If you have inadequate legal representation, you can be cheated out of your fair share of the community property. However, with the help of a seasoned divorce attorney from our firm, you will not have to feel pressured into accepting an offer that is less than what you deserve.
If you are looking for a San Diego divorce lawyer, contact our office for a free case evaluation!