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Do I need a lawyer for a separation agreement?

The law does not require a person to have a lawyer to create a separation agreement. Some spouses, citing expense, consider creating their own separation agreement without a lawyer. Other spouses believe that a lawyer only serves to escalate the ongoing hostilities that are present in such an emotional decision as a divorce, and some just prefer to handle such personal arrangements as divorce, custody, support, and property settlement themselves.

Lawyers, however, do a better job of handling these matters. They are familiar with the law and the rules of the separation and divorce procedure. They may "know the judge," that is, they are familiar with the judge and his rulings, and know the best approach. They are also able to shield their client from his or her own anger in the proceedings. It is a rare person who can keep emotion and personal concerns out of an argument as basic as divorce and finance. Judges will see this anger and resentment, which could prove detrimental to the person representing him or herself. In this way, lawyers often serve to prevent the escalation of hostilities and produce better results in a more productive fashion.

Separation agreements can be quite complex, as you might imagine. If you do decide to draft your own separation agreement itís essential that you understand what can and cannot be included in such an agreement. It is also wise to be familiar with the format and language of the agreement so as to satisfy the judge. It is therefore prudent to seek examples to reference.