A Separation Agreement is a legally binding domestic contract that addresses the issues arising from the parties' cohabitation, marriage and subsequent separation.
A Separation Agreement will address all of the rights and obligations arising from the relationship and its subsequent breakdown, usually on a permanent basis. A Separation Agreement is not a divorce order.
A Separation Agreement outlines the terms of parenting time and decision-making for dependant children, child support, spousal support, and the division of property.
Having a lawyer prepare and thoroughly review your Separation Agreement is recommended to ensure that your rights relating to the breakdown of your relationship are adequately addressed.
Further, it is important to remember that lawyers have specialized knowledge relating to domestic contracts to ensure that your agreement is valid. Relating to property division, a Separation Agreement will address the spouse’s right to an equalization of net family property.
The following are some examples of assets and debts that would be included in the Separation Agreement.
- All bank accounts
- Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs)
- Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs)
- The home and its contents
- Employer Pension Plans
- Insurance plans
- Line of credit
- Credit card
- Car loan
What Is the Difference Between a Separation And Divorce?
A Separation is when two married or common-law spouses live separate and apart without a reasonable prospect of reconciliation. If you are married a separation date is required to get the Divorce.
A divorce Order is when the court officially terminates the marriage and the parties are divorced.
The Differences Between Married and Common-Law Spouses
Common-law relationships do not provide for property rights within the legislation. Common law spouses can file a claim to spousal support or property by way of unjust enrichment or constructive trust. These claims can be complex and often require legal expertise. Our office can guide you through a Court Application as a common-law spouse.
In a marriage, most property is divided equally subject to some exceptions. As spouses, you can agree to divide property as you see fit; however, the treatment of the Matrimonial Home is unique and specifically outlined in the legislation.
How Does a Legal Separation Agreement Work?
A one-year separation is required to obtain a divorce order without claiming adultery or cruelty. A Separation Agreement is a legal document that outlines how a couple will settle the outstanding issues from their relationship.
A Separation Agreement commonly includes:
- Living arrangements
- Property division
- Division of debts
- Spousal support
- Parenting Schedules (Access)
- Decision-Making for Children (Custody)
- Child support
Commonly Asked Questions About a Separation Agreement
Yes, legally you can complete a separation agreement without a lawyer, however it is not advised.
Because of the importance of this document, it is not advised to sign without first speaking to a lawyer and obtaining independent legal advice.
The date of separation for married couples on the legal separation documents is used as the starting point for a division of matrimonial property.
If a spouse won’t sign the separation agreement it may be necessary to proceed to a court in your jurisdiction.
A separation agreement is legal if it is dated, signed by both parties and signed by a witness.
The agreement does not need to be notarized in Ontario to make it legal.
Legally you are not required to have a Separation Agreement to confirm your separation from your spouse. If the parties can agree to the terms of a Separation Agreement, then there is a legally binding document that outlines the terms of the separation