You need a separation agreement. The economy is bad and Albany divorce lawyers can be expensive. No problem, right? Google has an answer for everything. Why not just jump online, do some quick research, and handle it all yourself? Or if things seem complicated, try one of the many advertised services that claim to provide a divorce for $99 or less.

Representing yourself, or acting pro se, in any separation or divorce proceeding may seem like the way to go. Unfortunately, even when the involved parties can set emotions aside there are often issues to consider that aren’t necessarily obvious or easily anticipated.

  1. Termination of a marriage brings with it many financial concerns relating to child support, spousal support, and property distribution – If the agreement (i.e. contract) is prepared by individuals who do not consider the potential financial implications, you may end up paying, or losing, a lot of money.
  2. New York State court processes are often complicated and usually require forms, agreements, procedures, etc. to be presented in a certain way. If things are done incorrectly, you may be required to redo them and/or pay a lawyer to correct mistakes.
  3. A separation agreement is a contract. This means it’s legally binding and you have to do what it says. Once signed it cannot be undone unless both parties agree or exceptional circumstances are demonstrated. Exceptional circumstances can include fraud, duress, overreaching, or that the agreement is otherwise unconscionable. All of these are extremely difficult to prove.

Any legally binding agreement, including separation agreements, needs to be written with a full understanding of the overall impact it will have on the people agreeing to the terms. If the agreement is prepared by you, your significant other, or a document preparation service working for $99, there is a high potential for disastrous and costly mistakes that are likely to be irreversible. As with many things, cutting costs on the front end of an endeavor will often lead to more expense and problems later on.

If you are in need of a separation agreement, or any other legal services, it is important to seek the expertise of an experienced lawyer. This way, you can be reasonably sure that your best interests have been advocated for, and the agreement was overseen by an experienced professional that has a thorough understanding of what is at stake. This will allow you to focus on getting through this difficult time and moving on with your life.

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