Overview

The two main ways to obtain a divorce or legal separation are:

  • Settlement through negotiation (with divorce lawyers and/or mediators)
  • Via trial in court

How you choose to settle your legal issues will depend highly on your individual situation and on the relationship you have with your spouse at the time of the separation.

However, in most cases, of the two options, the first (which may involve drawing up a separation agreement) is greatly preferable in terms of the cost, time and control you have over the proceedings.

Our Calgary divorce lawyers can help make the negotiation period as seamless and easy as possible and are happy to provide any legal marriage advice you require.

Why create a separation agreement?

A separation agreement is a signed written document which outlines how a couple has agreed to divide property and what to do with the matrimonial home. It can also include the terms of spousal support, child support and any custody or access issues.

Signing a separation agreement can deliver significant benefits including:

  • Creates a legally binding agreement: A separation agreement is both legally binding and enforceable, requiring both parties to adhere to all the outlined provisions. If you or your spouse wish to change the terms, you must obtain a legal modification.
  • Saves money: When you create and sign a separation agreement, you can avoid the expensive and time-consuming litigation process.
  • Gives you more control: Creating a separation agreement will ensure that both parties can reach an equitable agreement instead of risking the judge making a decision neither one would be happy with.
  • Saves time: A separation agreement can result in a fast-tracked and more cost effective divorce.

What should be included in a separation agreement?

A separation agreement should include any specific information about how certain issues facing the separating couple will be resolved.

It is best to consult with a divorce lawyer while writing up a separation agreement in the event that you and your spouse cannot agree on some or all of the items.

In general, such an agreement should include:

  1. Full legal name of each spouse
  2. Date of separation
  3. Parenting plan
    • Who will have custody?
    • How much child support will be paid?
    • When will child support end?
    • Who will have access to the child/how will access be determined
  4. Spousal support
    • Will spousal support be paid?
    • If so, how much, when and for how long?
  5. Property division
    • A clear list should be made dividing up who will get what property and when
  6. Debts
    • Who will be responsible for which debts?
    • How debts incurred after separation, but before divorce will be handled.

Signing a separation agreement is a crucial step. The decisions that you make in this document will affect you and your children’s lives moving forward.

For more legal marriage advice, contact one of our Calgary divorce lawyers today at 1-800-381-1303 or book a consultation.

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