As any matrimonial litigant will tell you, divorce documents and the legalease contained therein are often confusing and frustrating. Whether this language be set forth in initiating court documents, papers during the litigation or in a final settlement agreement, it is of critical importance that a litigant carefully review and understand any document he/she is asked to sign. In this regard, a litigant should not feel uncomfortable or apprehensive about asking his/her attorney for clarification about any term or concept that he/she does not understand. Remember, there is no such thing as a stupid question. Even if you may have posed the question previously, most attorneys understand that during stressful and emotional litigation, clients often do not recall the answer to a previously asked question, or found it difficult to focus when hearing the answer the first time.
The consequences of not fully understanding or carefully reviewing documents to be signed can be financially and otherwise costly. While reviewing multiple drafts of documents can be tiresome, and the inclination may be to hastily scan subsequent versions, doing so is a critical mistake. The rule of thumb is to review every line of any document you sign. Once you sign a legal document, you are held to any obligations set forth therein.
Failing to carefully review legal documents before execution can lead to costly post judgment litigation. In this regard, asserting that you have not read the document you signed or did not understand the terms will not be a sufficient legal defense. The importance of reviewing and understanding what you sign in your action cannot be emphasized enough.