How many errors can you spot in this property settlement agreement?
June 14, 2011 3 Comments
A client dropped off his “divorce papers” for me to review. I scanned it in and redacted the names in hopes of preventing anyone from committing similar errors. For lack of a better term, we will call it bad property settlement agreement.
How many errors can you spot in this document? I am not talking about simple grammatical errors. I am talking about substantive errors that could seriously harm the client. I will start with a few and let you guys and gals jump in. Hopefully, we can all learn something from this exercise.
First, the document doesn’t identify which judicial district it will be filed in. For divorce cases, venue is jurisdictional. If this gets filed in the wrong venue, the divorce and property settlement are void.
Second, these people have 3 children. Do you see a provision that states the form of custody or which parent has custody? Nada…nothing….zilch. How could anyone overlook this?
Third, what amount is being paid for child support and does it comply with the statutory guidelines? Neither I, nor the court can determine that from this document. Also attached to the PSA is a document titled “waiver of financial statements and disclosures” which says that “both parties have been advised of their rights to receive financial statement…..” Somehow, I suspect the attorney drafting the documents didn’t advise my client of much, but is it his place to provide legal and financial advice to a party that isn’t his client in a divorce? Heck no! Do you think there is a snowball’s chance in hell that a Chancellor will approve a PSA involving 3 children without a stated amount of child support and allow the parties to waive the 8.05s? Heck no!
There are a few to get you started. Jump in guys and gals. I will follow up on this with future posts.