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The Importance of Consulting Your Attorney Before Signing an Agreement

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While signing important contracts and documents in the past, you may not have paid close attention to a few of the clauses and stipulations. However, if you are going through a divorce, you need to review everything in great detail. As you would with contracts when buying a house, proceed with caution and clarity because a divorce agreement is in the same way binding and very much will affect your life. To prepare and be sure that you are getting a fair settlement or proposal, consulting an experienced Maryland family law attorney is a must.

For example, Jesse and Connie were both experiencing trouble and difficulty in litigation due to an agreement that they signed after the finalization of their divorce. They were unhappy with the terms of their divorce’s final ruling, which led to Jesse connecting with Connie a few days after the judgement was entered to convince her to agree with him on some modifications. Jesse also encouraged them to work out the details of the changes without the presence and support of a lawyer. With proposals and invitations like these, you should be very careful. Most likely, a spouse who recommends making adjustments to the divorce agreement without involving a lawyer is looking to gain an unfair advantage over the other.

In this case, the amendment or modification document or “Consent Amendment” consisted of eight important terms. It provided that a judgement or ruling of an absolute divorce cannot be appealed. Connie should have been wary about Jesse’s inclusion of a “no appeals” provision, which was not consulted with her Maryland divorce lawyer. Nonetheless, she still signed the document. Connie made a big mistake. Several days upon signing the document, she gave notice to her lawyer about it. Connie immediately informed Jesse she was canceling her agreement to the terms in the modification document. With the assistance of her lawyer, she appealed the case. However, it was too late. Jesse filed a motion requesting for the judge to uphold the consent amendment, which was granted. Connie appealed and was unsuccessful again.

Once You’ve Signed An Agreement, It Would Be Almost Impossible For The Court To Revoke Or Cancel It

The only argument Connie could make was that the consent amendment could not have been valid or enforceable. You should know that with prenuptial agreement, consent amendment, or a marital settlement, there are just two ways that the court could revoke or cancel it. First, you have to be able to prove that the agreement is unconscionable. Also, you need to prove that your signature was obtained with the use of fraud, duress, or coercion. Since Connie did not have proof or evidence for both conditions, the judge ruled in favor of Jesse.

Connie’s case should serve as a warning, especially when your spouse proposes an agreement with “no appeals” provisions or clauses and without the involvement and advice of your lawyer. Trust that your lawyer knows the process and will guide and support you every step of the way and provide you advice on every detail for you to get a fair settlement.

Make sure you consult one of our family attorneys before making the same mistake Connie did. It can save you a lot of time, stress and money by having to further fight with your ex-spouse.

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