A separation agreement can be an effective and inexpensive way of settling family matters and can save you and your partner from drawn-out court proceedings and costly litigation
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What is a Separation Agreement?
A separation agreement is a contract outlining the settlement of issues that arise when a marriage or common-law relationship ends. Separation agreements can address any issue that may lead to a disagreement between a couple; this may include everything from the division of matrimonial property, child custody, support, care, and education to who will be responsible for the family pets.
A separation agreement can be an effective and inexpensive way of settling family matters and will save you and your partner drawn-out court proceedings and costly litigation; however, for a separation agreement to work, it’s crucial that both you and your partner get along well enough to come to agreements on sensitive issues and that the terms of the separation are fair.
Separation Agreement Timeline
Step 1: Identify issues
Step 2: Reach resolutions
To ensure the separation agreement is a success, each issue should be communicated and explored openly and both parties must be willing to make compromises. If a compromise is not possible, then the separation becomes contested.
Step 3: Produce a formal agreement
It is important to review the draft and ensure that it accurately reflects the agreements that we reached, includes a resolution to all discussed issues, and ensure that no further issues require further discussion or negotiation.
Step 4: Obtain Independent Legal Advice
A lawyer should draft your separation agreement: this stage is critical and ensures that you i) understand everything in the document; ii) understand the implications of the rights and obligations you may be consenting to or sacrificing; and iii) it prevents either party from later claiming that they did not understand the details and consequences of the agreement.
For assistance obtaining independent legal advice, click here.
Step 5: Sign the Separation Agreement
After both parties have consulted their lawyers and received independent legal advice, you will sign the agreement in the presence of a witness.