Whether a client comes out of a marriage, or a common-law relationship, a separation agreement allows a great deal of flexibility in customizing the details of any future dealings with the other party, and can settle things such as ongoing support obligations, parental relationships, and property division. This page provides information about separation agreements – 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. In order to ensure that the agreement is legally binding, we take the view that both parties must seek independent legal advice about all of its terms. Failure to do so opens the door to a future challenge in which the agreement could be set aside because of a party’s failure to appreciate the legal effect of the contract. This means that in most cases, each party must consult with a separate lawyer before relying on an agreement.
Another important component of a binding separation agreement is full financial disclosure. The courts will often aside agreements where the parties entered into the contract without full disclosure of their respective financial positions. Full financial disclosure generally requires sworn financial statements with tax documents to establish income, as well as proof of assets and liabilities at the date of marriage and at the date of separation.
In addition to enhancing the validity of an agreement, these documents allow us to advise clients about the amount of property or support to which they may be entitled. 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.