Separation Agreement Toronto
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If you are separating in Ontario and require a separation agreement, please contact our firm immediately. Not only are we familiar with the process and legal issues involved in drafting a legally valid separation agreement, we do so at an affordable price.
What is a Separation Agreement?
A separation agreement is a domestic contract that may, to a certain degree, supersede or alter the legal rights of the spouses. Ontario law allows spouses to enter into a separation agreement that covers various issues such as child custody, spousal support, property, debts, pensions, RRSPs, RESPs, and etc. A separation agreement is not required to get a divorce in Ontario. However, rather than going to court and potentially spending thousands of dollars in legal fees to resolve your issues, a separation agreement is a fairly affordable method of resolving your issues. Once executed by the parties, a separation agreement is treated as a court order which may then be enforced later on if one of the spouses fails to abide by the terms of the separation agreement.
Important Issues to Address
When couples separate there are many issues they must address. It is important that both spouses are fully informed of their rights and obligations upon separating to avoid a situation of an unreasonable separation agreement – which may be overturned in certain situations by the courts. During the course of drafting of the separation agreement the major issues that should be addressed include the following:
- Personal information of the parties involved (names, date of birth, etc.)
- Important dates, including the date of marriage and separation
- Child Custody and Access Issues – custody arrangements, living arrangements, access issues, what happens if a parent wants to move with the child, and etc.
- Spousal Support – how much spousal support will be paid, how long will it be paid and whether spousal support will be waived.
- Property Division and Equalization – this part of the separation agreement will touch upon issues relating to the division of property, any equalization payments owed by the spouse with the higher net worth, the matrimonial home (whether a spouse will buy out the other, who will be responsible for the mortgage, who will reside in it, whether it will be sold, how proceeds will be divided if sold, and etc.).
- Debts – how the responsibility for debts will be treated
- RRSPs, RESPs, Pensions, Life Insurance, and etc.
Please note that there are circumstances in which a separation agreement may not be recognized by the courts, such as inadequate disclosure by a spouse. In order to avoid such a circumstance it is important that both spouses are transparent about the issues they wish to settle in the separation agreement. Furthermore, it is recommended that once a separation agreement is drafted that independent legal advice be sought regarding the terms of the separation agreement prior to signing the separation agreement.
In most cases, a separation agreement requires parties to engage in financial disclosure. The process of financial disclosure requires parties to disclose their income, assets and debts for the date of marriage and date of separation. The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that the parties were fully informed of the financial situation of each party during negotiations. Furthermore, the financial disclosure requirement takes on more importance in cases where a party is releasing their right to an equalization, property or support payment. Without the requirement of financial disclosure being satisfied there is always a high risk of an separation agreement being overturned.
Independent Legal Advice
Another important requirement in finalizing a separation agreement is that of Independent Legal Advice. Each party must have their own lawyer who will provide them with advice on the terms of the their agreement. The lawyer will also ensure that a party is not signing a separation agreement involuntarily, under any undue influence or due to any threats. As in financial disclosure, if a party is releasing or waiving an important right, it becomes necessary to ensure that this party receives Independent Legal Advice. If not, this could also be used as a way to overturn the separation agreement in the future.
For more information on how Simple Divorce can assist you with drafting a separation agreement, contact us at 416-901-7992 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other Articles to Read
Divorce and Separation
Family Justice Services
Child Custody and Access
Division or Equalization of Family Property
Treatment of a Matrimonial Home
Enforcement of Support Payments