3. Get your own independent legal advice
Question & AnswerWe’re not married. What if we agree on what happens to our property and debts after we separate?
You don’t need a lawyer to make a . But it’s a very good idea to get your own legal advice before signing one.
You can talk to a lawyer who can help you understand:
- The claims you can make after you separate.
- Your rights and responsibilities toward your children and your partner.
- The rules your agreement has to follow to make it binding and enforceable under the law.
- How your rights change once you sign the agreement.
You and your partner should not go to the same lawyer. It is important for each of you to get your own legal advice from different lawyers. This is sometimes called (ILA). The advice is independent because each lawyer is only working for one of you.
Besides helping you understand what you’re agreeing to, there are other important reasons to get ILA. If you and your partner each get ILA, your agreement is less likely to be challenged later. And a court is more likely to order you and your partner to do what you agreed.
If you decide not to get legal advice, you may not be able to argue later that you didn’t understand your legal rights when you signed the agreement.
If you can’t afford to hire a lawyer, you may be able to find legal help in other places.