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Understanding Separation Agreements

Divorce can be a daunting and expensive process that many people would prefer to avoid altogether. If a couple is willing to negotiate and settle their separation out of court, they can do so by getting Ottawa Family Lawyers to draft a separation agreement. This contract defines their rights and responsibilities and can help simplify the divorce or separation process. Let’s review separation agreements in Ottawa.


What Is a Separation Agreement?

A separation agreement is a domestic contract between two spouses that have separated. It defines the rights of each spouse, setting the terms for matters like child decision-making (child custody) and property division. Signing a separation agreement does not result in a Divorce Order being issued.


What Is Included in A Separation Agreement?

A separation agreement will usually cover issues like property division, spousal support, child support, and child parenting matters. This matter is governed by section 54 of the Family Law Act, which provides for two people living separate and apart to enter into an agreement covering, among others, the following:


Difference Between Separation and Divorce

A married or common-law couple that decides to live separate and apart is considered separated. Separation does not legally end a marriage; only divorce can do that. Additionally, couples do not need to live in different homes to be separated as long as they can prove that they are living separately and apart.

In a nutshell, a couple is considered separated if they start to live separate and apart, while divorce is a legal process that ends a marriage through a Court Order approved after one year of separation.


Benefits of a Separation Agreement

Divorce can be a long, drawn-out, and tedious affair. In addition to the court dates, you also have to bear the legal costs of the procedure, which can be steep. A separation agreement can make things easier. Benefits of this document include:

  •         It is usually drafted by lawyers keen on protecting your rights.
  •         It is an amicable approach to ending a marriage and fosters cooperation, unlike court, which can create feelings of competition and animosity.
  •         The entire process promotes full disclosure and honesty.
  •         You can identify, add, edit, or remove clauses from the agreement based on your interests.
  •         Its cost is relatively low, especially in comparison to court or a trial.
  •         It is less stressful, both mentally and emotionally.


Do You Need a Separation Agreement?

Technically, no. Canadian law does not require a separation agreement for two spouses to be considered legally separated or divorced. However, if you have children, the court will not approve your divorce until you and your spouse address child support. A separation agreement will come in handy here because it will allow you to negotiate and agree on this matter before filing for divorce.


Talk to an Ottawa Family Lawyer

At RPB Family Law, we are dedicated to promoting peace and happiness in your family. We understand that separation can be emotionally and psychologically taxing, and we would like to make things easier for you. If you are considering entering into a separation agreement, contact us to learn how an experienced Ottawa Divorce Lawyer can help you.