What is a Separation Agreement?
A Separation Agreement is a legally binding contract with your former spouse that sets out the resolution of issues arising from the breakdown of the relationship. A Separation Agreement can form the basis of a divorce judgment, provided that it is comprehensive and addresses all of the necessary areas. While these agreements will be different for every couple, the following matters are typically addressed:
- a parenting / access schedule; and
- the amount of child support that will be paid.
- Spousal support
- the amount of spousal support, if any, that will be paid; and
- the type of spousal support (lump sum vs. monthly payments).
- Matrimonial property
- determination of exempt property;
- division of matrimonial assets, including but not limited to, property, bank accounts, and household goods;
- division of matrimonial debts, including but not limited to, credit cards, mortgages, and lines of credit; and
- division of retirement income, such as pensions and RRSPs.
Although individuals are free to contract into any arrangement following separation, there are a number of enumerated factors that must be considered when the agreement is executed:
- both parties must be aware of the nature and the effect of the agreement,
- both parties must be aware of the possible future claims to property the party may have under the Family Property Act and that the party intends to give up these claims to the extent necessary to give effect to the agreement, and
- both parties must execute the agreement freely and voluntarily without any compulsion on the part of the other party.
The parties also have to obtain independent legal advice regarding the contents of the agreement and it must be executed separately from one another.
Separation Agreements involve significant legal rights and as such, it is recommended that a family lawyer is consulted prior to negotiating and drafting the document. The family lawyers at Vogel Verjee are prepared to assist with a wealth of experience in this area of law. Contact our office to set up a consult today!