Benefits of Negotiating a Separation Agreement

Negotiating Separation Agreement

Negotiating a separation agreement has many advantages over the traditional court process. Going through the family law process during a separation or divorce can be emotionally draining. Going to court to resolve your family law issues is not the only option.

What do negotiations look like in family law disputes?

Negotiations leading up to a separation agreement are essentially discussions that parties have with each other (usually with lawyers) to try to settle their matters. It is not necessary that the parties directly discuss the issues themselves. Sometimes emotions are too strong for parties to see each other face to face or to talk out things themselves. Usually, parties will hire their own lawyers who will act as the channel for negotiations.

Once the parties reach an agreement on their outstanding issues, the terms of their agreement will be incorporated into a Separation Agreement. Once signed, the Separation Agreement becomes a binding legal contract. The Family Law Act sets out the requirements that must be satisfied for the Separation Agreement to be enforceable.

Benefits of negotiations

There are many benefits of negotiating a Separation Agreement:

  • Faster than court
  • Cheaper than court
  • Less stressful
  • Less adversarial than the traditional court process

Limitations of negotiations

While not common in every case, a major limitation of negotiations is when the matter is high-conflict. A matter can be high-conflict for many reasons. At times one of the spouses may be negotiating in bad faith and may be purposefully delaying negotiations to drag the matter on. Other times the parties may genuinely require the assistance of a judge to decide an issue of law that is disputed by the parties’ lawyers. However, the statistics show that most family law matters are usually settled by way of negotiations that conclude in parties signing a separation agreement.

Other options to resolve issues

If negotiations fail, the other options to resolve a family law matter include:

  • Mediation
  • Arbitration
  • Court

Ideally, avoiding the above options is best. However, if parties truly cannot negotiate a separation agreement through their lawyers they will have no choice but to consider other options.

For more information about negotiating a separation agreement or obtaining a divorce in Ontario, please contact our Toronto divorce lawyer here.

NOTICE AND DISCLAIMER: The material posted on this website is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please consult with a family lawyer

Other Articles to Read
The Family Court System in Ontario – General Overview
Resuming Marital Relations during Separation Period

Helpful Resources:

Divorce and Separation
Family Justice Services
Child Custody and Access
Spousal Support
Child Support
Division or Equalization of Family Property
Treatment of a Matrimonial Home
Enforcement of Support Payments
Child Protection
Child Adoption