A separation agreement helps both parties negotiate and settle their issues regarding the division of property, child custody, parenting, child support and spousal support. This method is a collaborative approach that avoids lengthy and costly court litigation while the parties wait for their 1 year separation period prior to filing their divorce in Court. If you and your partner can amicably come up with the terms of your separation, then the divorce lawyer can draft your agreement in a legally binding contract. This also allows the parties to drastically save on legal fees by avoiding litigation in Court.
Bhardwaj+Co has extensive experience with family law to help you understand your legal rights and negotiate a fair separation agreement.
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Separation Agreements FAQs
Full Financial Disclosure
- The parties should always strive to ensure disclosure is provided to one another before they sign a separation agreement. Your separation and divorce lawyer can assist you with obtaining the other parties disclosure. They will then advise you of your rights to any entitlement of settlement payments, and or any liabilities for assumption of debts if you decide to waive your right to financial disclosure.
- When going through financial disclosure, your family and divorce lawyer will assist you in obtaining disclosure of the other parties private pensions, RRSP and other investments, vehicles, bank accounts, debts from the mortgage, any line of credits and credit cards.
- If you have children, it is important to list in detail the parenting plan that will govern the living arrangements for the children. Your family and divorce lawyer will go over different parenting arrangements with you and come up with what all parties believe to be in the best interests for the child.
- It is important to include the consideration of child support payments if you have children. The parties can come up with a mutual agreement to support that is different then the obligations set by the Federal Child Support Guidelines. However, when doing so, the parties must state with good reason as to why. It is important that you discuss these details with your family law lawyer.
- Spousal support considerations must be included in your separation agreement. Even if the parties agree that there will be a waiver of spousal support, this waiver must be explicitly included. When a family and divorce lawyer drafts a separation agreement they provide careful consideration to drafting waiver clauses to prevent future claims being made against the other party. The separation agreement must be drafted in a way that it will be legally binding in Court if challenged.
If you are planning to separate, then a separation agreement can help you address issues on custody, maintenance and family assets instead of having to go to court to resolve those issues and incur substantially higher legal costs.
Generally, Alberta courts will respect the separation agreements of spouses as long as your agreement is fair, reasonable and properly executed.