Do I really need to consult a lawyer if I am separating from my spouse amicably and we have already agreed on how to share parenting, how much support is to be paid and how to divide matrimonial property?
Many couples who are in the process of separating or have recently separated ask themselves these questions. Over the years, as family law lawyers, we have seen many clients who made the decision to settle the terms of their separation themselves and sign separation agreements purportedly setting out the terms of custody and access of minor children, child support, spousal support and division of property without the benefit of one or both parties consulting a lawyer. One or both spouses consult the myriad of resources available online and find a precedent separation agreement online. This may become more prevalent in the current troubled economy when spouses are trying to cut costs as much as they can, particularly in circumstances when they are separating and having to fund multiple households. These clients come to us after the fact, sometimes many years after they have separated, when issues or disputes arise. Some clients come to us because they never obtained a divorce after separating and now want to remarry years later.