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Separation Agreements: Don't Try This at Home!

First, a request; please don't use separation agreements you find on the internet. Self-drafted legal documents, whether templates or samples by people that mean well, create more problems than they solve. Even internet documents that look well-constructed are often fatally flawed, or even incomplete.

The problem with on-line documents, or using another's legal documents, is that the drafter did not anticipate your legal issues, only their own. Everyone's situation differs, and there are a host of issues to be considered in a separation agreement.

For example, what are the tax ramifications of a support or property provision? Is the alimony structured to be enforceable, as well as valid for IRS purposes? Are property transfers (particularly retirement accounts) free from tax and penalty? Are pensions properly distributed? Military retirements? Is child support correctly calculated? Is the visitation schedule reasonable and practical? How will the document be enforced if violated? Can it be modified? Are there life insurance or estate issues?

Legal documents are never "one-size fits all." They must be tailored by an experienced attorney after consultation and analysis of the issues and goals for that client. An experienced attorney anticipates problems, is aware of changes in the law, and recommends needed terms. The attorney ensures the document is properly executed.

Copying separation agreements from the internet may seem like a money-saver, but often costs the parties more when they have to modify or rescind the faulty, incomplete, or improperly executed document. Enforcement of defective separation agreements is very problematic, and may cost far more than if drafted correctly in the first place.

At Epperson Law, we have the experience and ability to efficiently negotiate and prepare your separation agreement. Please contact us as early as possible so that we may accomplish this most important task for you in a manner that leaves you confident and protected!