A separation agreement is a contract that marks the conclusion of the issues that arise at the end of a marriage or common law relationship. It allows a great deal of flexibility in customizing the arrangements for future dealings with the other party. An effective agreement will settle things such as ongoing support obligations, parental relationships, property division and more. This page provides information about separation agreements, which set out your respective rights and obligations. For more about the specific rights you might have, please select the appropriate link from the “Services” menu.
Parties can often save a great deal of time and expense by resolving issues by way of a negotiated agreement. Successful conclusion of an Agreement typically comes from compromise. Some clients succeed in making agreements in principle before consulting with a lawyer. Others require advice and support to determine their legal rights before seeking a negotiated solution. Either way, we aim to simply the process and avoid the time and expense associated with litigation where possible.
A valid separation agreement requires both parties to fully understand the nature and consequences of the contract they enter into. To make a legally binding agreement, both parties should seek independent legal advice about all of its terms. Failure to do so opens the door to a future challenge. This risks a court setting aside the agreement because of a party’s failure to understand it. As such, each party should consult with a separate lawyer before entering an agreement.
Another important component of a binding separation agreement requires full financial disclosure. The courts may set aside agreements where the parties did not make full disclosure of their financial positions. Full financial disclosure generally requires sworn financial statements. It also requires tax documents, and proof of assets and liabilities at the date of marriage and at separation.
In addition to enhancing the validity of an agreement, these documents allow us to advise clients. They form the basis of our advice about entitlement to property or support. We work with clients to help them obtain the required documents in advance of meetings where possible. This approach minimizes time and legal fees.
If you wish to determine if a separation agreement is the right solution for you, please contact us to learn more.