Home > divorce, divorce modification, family law general, law general, paternity/child custody > Just a little advice from me to you. . .

Just a little advice from me to you. . .

So it happens sometimes that we don’t read things before we sign them.  You know, those “boilerplate” agreements that you have to sign to download music on iTunes, use Facebook, all those Privacy and Use Policies–who really reads those anyway?  And in truth, when you sign something like that without reading it, chances are pretty good that you’re not really going to be held to that agreement were you to push the matter.  Those fall within the realm of contract law, and are generally called Contracts of Adhesion, meaning you didn’t get to negotiate the terms, the party providing the contract has a position of extra power in the supposed contract, all that stuff.  But that’s a topic for another time. . .

I sure hope he read that first. ..

When it comes to family law, you damn well better be reading that agreement before you sign it.  Because just because you don’t actually know what’s in it, but trust that your lawyer said it was fine and you should sign it, doesn’t mean you won’t be held to it.  Case in point:

I have a friend who modified her divorce decree last February.  They did the whole Mediation-Thing, an experience she was not thrilled with, but thought she had agreed to certain things within that setting.  The divorce modification was drafted up and she signed it, without reading it, because she *thought* she knew what it said, and anyway, her lawyer said it was okay.

This turned out to be a Very Bad Plan.  Because while she *thought* that she and her ex-husband had agreed to share the costs of transporting the kids for visitation, she didn’t actually sign a document that said that.  In fact, the divorce modification she signed said that she would pay 100% of ALL transportation costs incurred in effecting visitation.  And it’s HER visitation that she’s paying 100% for, because he has the kids (and that’s another long story that I’ll tell someday, if I’m not still too mad about it.)  So if she can’t afford to get the kids to her house, and then back to his, she can’t have them.  And they live about an hour and a half apart.  NOT what she thought she’d agreed to.  And at this point she can’t really change it (see my previous posts about modifying your divorce decree.)

In like form, I made an ass of myself this week in only partially reading my first divorce modification in regards to a provision regarding the Office of Recovery Services.  Luckily for me, the only damage done to me was my own embarrassment and personal mental anguish that the modification didn’t actually say what I was hoping it said.  Nothing has actually gotten worse for me as a result of this little flub-up.

They say the devil is in the details. . .Make SURE you've read through the details before you sell your soul to the Devil.

I wish the same could be said for my friend :(.  And the Moral of this story?  READ IT BEFORE YOU SIGN IT.  Your lawyer doesn’t have to live with the consequences of signing the document.  You do.

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