What makes a separation agreement legal in Ontario?
Many people are surprised to learn that you do not have to file any document to be legally separated.
You are legally separated when one or both of you decide that you wish to live separate and apart and there is no chance of reconciliation. The decision to live separate and apart needs to be communicated to your partner.
Living separate and apart can mean each person lives in their own home or it can include both people living in the same home but having separate spaces in the home and they are living separate lives. Sometimes it is complicated to decide when a couple separated and there can be financial implications to that decision. It is important you speak with a Toronto divorce lawyer
to learn more about the impact your separate date can have.
Married people and common law couples can reach an agreement outlining what their rights and obligations are after separation.
This agreement is put into writing. It is important that both people understand what they are signing because it is an enforceable contract.
For an agreement to be valid, it must be in writing, signed by both people and their signatures are witnessed.
In addition, it is important that both people understand the agreement, the agreement is fair and there has been complete and honest exchange of financial information.
You should also have a lawyer review the Separation Agreement before you sign it, so you understand exactly what the Agreement says and what you are signing.
What Do You Include in a Separation Agreement?
For couples with children, a separation agreement will include details of where the children will live, parental decision making, parenting time, child support – amount and duration.
If spousal support is to be paid, the separation agreement will outline how much is payable and for how long. If spousal support is waived, the agreement will include this.
The way the couple’s property is divided is included in the agreement. If the house is sold, when will it be sold, who will live in it, how the proceeds from the sale will be divided or how the buyout is expected.
If the couple has debts how will the debts be paid and who is responsible for the payment.
Significant assets like pensions, RRSPs, investments will they be shared and how will they be transferred.
Why Do You Need a Separation Agreement?
A separation agreement provides finality to the terms of your break up. Without an agreement, one person can come back practically at any time and claim that they were owed support payments. This can be a significant amount and it can go back for a number of years. The same thing can happen with property division. There are certain time limits you have to receive an equalization or property settlement. If you miss this time limit and you don’t have an agreement, you are likely out of luck. Without an agreement, you won’t know your obligations and rights. It is very difficult to move forward without resolving the issues arising from your relationship.