Child & Spousal Support
Binding Judicial Dispute Resolution Pilot for Family Law Cases Expanding Across Ontario
January 18, 2022
When separating or divorcing, it is important to create a comprehensive separation agreement. A separation agreement is a contract that former spouses or partners create, setting out the terms that will govern their post-separation life. The agreement will address any issues applicable to the couple in question and may include spousal and child support, parenting time, and property division.
If you and your former spouse or partner can come to terms through a process such as negotiation, mediation, or collaborative family law, you retain control over the terms of your separation. If you cannot reach an agreement independently, it may become necessary to have a judge or arbitrator impose terms based on federal and provincial legislation. Prior to signing, each party must obtain independent legal advice from separate lawyers to ensure fairness and legal validity.
A comprehensive separation agreement should address and proactively prepare for any and all issues that may arise following the breakdown of a relationship. While each agreement will be different depending on the family, there are some issues that should be considered in nearly every case.
These issues are common in most separations (certain exceptions apply to common-law relationships) and can become quite complex to resolve. To avoid future disputes or miscommunication, it’s vital there be no ambiguity in the language.
Some clients are tempted to use boilerplate separation agreements to create their own contracts; however, we strongly advise against doing so. These agreements are often much too simplistic and general, leaving gaps and unaddressed issues which could lead to future disputes.
Each family is unique so the issues to be addressed in a separation agreement can vary drastically depending on the circumstances. A custom agreement will ensure you’ve addressed the issues important to your family. Our lawyers will create a unique agreement drafted with your family in mind, leaving no room for misinterpretation. Clarity is also crucial to make sure the agreement will withstand judicial scrutiny, should you need to enforce one or more terms of the agreement in the future.
At Long Shariff & Associates in Stouffville, our team of family lawyers keep our clients informed of their rights while advocating for their position throughout the drafting process. We will pre-emptively alleviate any stress or anxiety on your behalf through open, honest, and transparent communication, so you are never unsure of where things stand.
A separation agreement forms the backbone of the post-separation and divorce relationship and can be enforced by a judge if necessary. Given its significance, it is vital that each party be fully aware of their rights and responsibilities under the agreement. Even if the parties can come to terms on their own, each party is required to seek their own independent legal advice from a lawyer before signing. Independent legal advice is required to ensure both parties have adequate protection, and to establish legal validity should enforcement become necessary.
At Long Shariff & Associates, we regularly provide independent legal advice. Our divorce lawyers will thoroughly review the agreement with you, explain how it will affect your rights and obligations, and flag any potential consequences or areas of concern. In the event we have concerns, we will recommend revisions to better protect your interests. Whether we draft the agreement or review it with you as part of providing independent legal advice, we will ensure you can sign with confidence, knowing you are fully informed about the contents and how they affect you.
At Long Shariff & Associates, our compassionate family lawyers help our clients create and execute a comprehensive separation agreement tailored to their individual circumstances. We are experienced working with clients on both simple and highly complex separation agreements.
From our office in Whitchurch-Stouffville we serve clients in Aurora, Markham, Richmond Hill, Uxbridge, Pickering, Ajax, Whitby and throughout York and Durham Region. No matter your situation, we will ensure your interests are protected and you are informed on all aspects of your agreement in advance of signing. To review your matter with a member of our team, please reach out to us online, or call us at 905-591-4545.
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