For a lot of couples going through divorce, separation agreement is not foreign to them. Separation agreement can be made at any time after separation. There are time limits to ask your partner for certain things, like dividing property. For example, you have 6 years from the date of separation but only 2 years from the date of your divorce to divide property.
Why Separation Agreement?
Separation agreement is a better solution in a lot of cases compared to litigation. It is faster and more affordable. More importantly, couples can dictate their own terms instead of handing their affairs to a third party. If the support payor defaults on separation agreement, Family Responsibility Office has the authority to enforce a separation agreement.
What Does Separation Agreement Deal With?
A separation agreement not only deals with custody and access in relation to children, but also settles the financial affairs as a result of separation. Below is a non-exhaustive list of the matters that a separation agreement deals with:
- Custody and access
- Child support
- Spousal support
- Family property division
- Family Debts
- Health insurances
- Life Insurance
A separation agreement generally contains a Release clause to release the parties from each other after the execution of the agreement. You can also agree on which party and when to apply for a divorce in the separation agreement. A separation agreement allows the party to resolve their issues without expending costs and time at the court.
How Many Lawyers Do I Need?
Some couples are under the false impression that they can engage one lawyer and draft the separation agreement for both of them. Both parties are required to obtain their own legal representation. Any lawyer dealing with an unrepresented party needs to make sure the unrepresented party understand that the lawyer does not represent him/herself. To ensure the separation agreement is valid, each party’s lawyer signs an independent legal representation certificate which is annexed as a schedule to the separation agreement. If the party insists on not obtaining any legal representation or advice, the party is usually asked to sign a Waiver of Independent Legal Advice.
A separation agreement is not always a viable solution. For example, where the parties cannot work together even with the lawyer’s help, where one party is afraid of the other party because of a history of partner abuse or there are serious mental health or drug abuse issues, separation agreement effort maybe futile. In these situations, court assistance or interference may be more effective.
If you need assistance with negotiating a separation agreement with your spouse, please contact one of our experienced family lawyers serving Markham.
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