Separation Agreements

Separation Agreement Lawyer Toronto

Separation agreements and court orders are the only two ways that family law disputes can be finalized in a way that is enforceable.  Separation agreements involve making a contract between two separated spouses on the issues of child custody, access, parenting terms, child support, spousal support, property division, and all matters that need to be dealt with on separation.

Legal Separation in Toronto

People often ask about getting a “legal separation” from their spouse or common law partner.  A legal separation does not really exist.  The question of when people are separated is a question of fact.  A court would look at a number of different factors to determine the point of a separation date, including whether people still acted as a couple and had sexual relations.  The court does not proclaim people legally separated.  The court’s only role on the issue of separation is to determine the exact date of a separation for the purpose of a divorce or issues like property division and spousal support. 

The Benefits of Separation Agreements

Not all divorces require court and litigation.  Sometimes, you and your spouse may separate amicably.  Even where there are amicable separations, and spouses are acting civilly, it is still important to make sure there is a written separation agreement that defines everyone’s rights.  After all, “good fences make good neighbours.”  Just like you would make an agreement with a business partner or someone providing you with goods and services, it is especially important to have a separation agreement with a former spouse.  Having a separation agreement can prevent further problems down the road.  While you may be amicable now, you may argue later about what terms you actually agreed upon in terms of child custody, access, child support, spousal; support and property division. 

Separation Agreement Lawyer Toronto

Understanding Separation Agreements

There is no standard form to separation agreements.  They can be drafted in different ways and can include some or all issues in dispute.  The Family Law Act provides some guidance on what characteristics a separation agreement must have to be enforceable.  Notwithstanding the fact that there is flexibility with separation agreements, there are a lot of dangers in downloading separation agreements off the internet and trying to write them yourself.  Separation agreements off the internet can be from other jurisdictions and are not tailored to your situation.  Especially given the additional caselaw on all of the issues, lawyers are specially trained to ensure that you are protected as much as possible and you are receiving what you think you are receiving to the extent possible. 

Do You Need a Lawyer to Draft a Separation Agreement?

Besides the fact that things may not be written properly in a separation agreement made without the help of a lawyer, the law on some issues between separating spouses is extremely complex.  Family law is one area of the law that crosses over into other areas.  There are tax issues, estates issues, business issues, and insurance issues, among a host of other issues, that arise from a separation between spouses.  A separation agreement with a lawyer can cover all of these issues and give you options with respect to them.

Especially in situations when you and your spouse are amicable with one another, it sometimes benefits “the family” financially to structure matters in a certain way.  If you simply fill out a separation agreement yourself, you may end up saving money on lawyers but losing money on the way things are organized.

Separation agreements are legally binding and can be “enforced” at court.  However, not all terms of agreements can be enforced and some people opt for the greater comfort of a court order when finalizing their case.  A Divorce Source lawyer can explain to you all the risks and benefits of deciding whether to use a separation agreement or court order to deal with your case, even when you and your spouse are acting civilly with each other.

How Much Do Separation Agreements Cost?

In terms of cost, separation agreements can be less costly than going to court, but this is not always the case.  Divorce Source lawyers believe that court cases have the advantage of providing structure to a dispute, including setting dates by which disclosure needs to be provided, when the parties must come to court to deal with their matter, and providing temporary decisions until the matter can be finalized.  Sometimes, when lawyers are negotiating separation agreements, they can go back and forth for some time arguing about issues with no “referee”, like a judge, to resolve disputes.  For this reason, lawyers at Divorce Source are always conscious about trying to make sure that if negotiations go on for too long, and costs are rising, discussions will take place about whether court might be the best route.

When separation agreements are negotiated with good faith on both sides, and with cooperation, they are frequently less expensive than going to court.  Divorce Source lawyers meet with you to understand your case and assess how cooperative the other side will be with respect to a separation agreement.  At that point, unlike a court case, Divorce Source can then give you a better estimate of what legal fees you might expend to ensure the separation agreement is completed properly.  Divorce Source lawyers will try to be extremely transparent and straight forward about cost and always aim to achieve value for clients.  Value can be measured in different ways, but finality, and peace of mind that a separation agreement is properly drafted, are both very important pieces of your divorce or separation before you are ready to move on to the next phase of your life.

Contact Divorce Source to Discuss a Legal Separation

Divorce Source is your source for separation agreements.  At Divorce Source, you can count on knowledgeable, professional lawyers to help you through a difficult time in your life and help ensure your separation agreement is done properly.

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