Human Lawyer vs. Chat GPT: is it advisable to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to draft a Marital Settlement Agreement?
As an experiment, the following was typed into Chat GPT: Maryland Contract Alimony $5,000 per month for 5 years.
Chat GPT provided the following language:
Husband, agrees to pay Wife, the sum of $5,000 per month as spousal support (alimony) for a period of 5 years, commencing on [Start Date]. The payments shall be made on the [Specify Date, e.g., 1st day of each month] of each month.
This alimony provision is non-modifiable, and neither party shall seek a modification of this provision under any circumstances.
The obligation to pay alimony shall terminate upon the occurrence of any of the following events:
- The death of either party.
- The remarriage of Wife.
- Wife cohabitating with another person in a supportive relationship as defined by the applicable law.
CONTINUATION AFTER REMARRIAGE
In the event of Wife’s remarriage, Husband’s obligation to pay alimony shall cease upon the date of Wife’s remarriage. However, Husband shall be obligated to pay any unpaid alimony amounts up to that date.
An experienced family law attorney would have drafted the alimony provision as follows:
Husband to Pay Alimony to Wife.
i. Husband shall pay directly to Wife, as alimony and for her support and maintenance, the fixed and non-modifiable sum of Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) per month, accounting from and with the first (1st) payment being due and payable on January 1, 2024 and on the first (1st) day of each month thereafter. Husband’s alimony payments shall be payable by cash, check or money order payable on demand. Husband’s alimony and support payments as set forth in this paragraph shall be payable so long as the parties live separate and apart from each other and shall terminate (except as to accrued arrears, if any) upon the first (1st) to occur of any one (1) of the following events: (1) remarriage of Wife; (2) death of Husband; (3) death of Wife; or (4) December 31, 2028 (hereinafter “Termination Date”). In no event shall Husband have any liability to make any alimony payments or any payment as a substitute for such payments after the death of Wife. The parties agree that the provisions of this paragraph with respect to alimony, spousal support, and/or maintenance are not and shall not be subject to any Court modification except as provided in paragraph iii. below. Wife accepts the terms of this paragraph in lieu of any other provision or allowance for her support.
ii. For purposes of this Paragraph, the term “remarriage of Wife” shall mean her actual remarriage or her cohabitation with an unrelated adult male for ninety (90) days in any given three hundred sixty-five (365) day period irrespective of the actual financial arrangements or assumption vel non of the duties and obligations associated with marriage.
iii. Non-Modifiability of Alimony Payments. The parties agree that the provisions of this Paragraph with respect to alimony, spousal support, and/or maintenance are not and shall not be subject to any court modification, except in the event that Husband sustains a disability and is no longer able to work/has a significant reduction in salary or otherwise has an involuntary and significant reduction of pay. In those events and those events only, Husband may request a downward modification of alimony. Wife accepts the terms of this Paragraph in lieu of any other provision or allowance of her support. The parties agree that the terms of this Paragraph shall not be subject to any court modification, and the parties waive the right to ever request any court to change or make a different provision for the support and maintenance of either Husband or Wife, temporary or permanent, past, present or future, except as explicitly provided herein. The parties further expressly covenant and agree that except as provided for in this paragraph, neither party shall hereafter apply to any court for an increase or decrease in the amount of, the duration of, or a modification of the terms of such alimony, support, and maintenance as herein provided.
The most significant differences between the drafting done by AI and a human family law attorney are the provisions for modification in the event of disability and the more detailed language regarding cohabitation. It is this writer’s opinion that the AI language for cohabitation would be unenforceable in court and the lack of a provision for modification in the event of significant disability or significant involuntary reduction in income leaves the alimony payor in an unreasonable and possibly disastrous position. At this time, AI seems to be limited to drafting generalized language that is unlikely to provide clear and comprehensive language that meets the individual needs of and provides the necessary protections for divorcing spouses.