Going through a separation, whether it is mutual or not, can be emotionally challenging. It can be even more complex when it comes to legal matters such as property division, child custody, and spousal support. These issues may lead to court battles that can take years and cost a fortune. However, couples who agree to settle their issues outside court can benefit from separation agreements. In this blog post, we will discuss what separation agreements are, their benefits, and the things that newly separated couples should consider when making one.
What is a Separation Agreement?
A separation agreement is a legal document that outlines the terms and conditions that two separated parties agree upon regarding their property, kids, and other matters. This document can be arranged by the separating couple, their lawyers, or mediators, but usually, it is assisted or reviewed by a legal professional. The terms decided in a separation agreement are legally binding, meaning if one of the parties breaches the agreement, the other party has the legal right to seek help from the court.
Benefits of a Separation Agreement
The primary benefit of a separation agreement is that it avoids heading into legal litigation. This means that there are usually lower court costs during the separation process. Moreover, it enables couples to have more autonomy over their decisions, which can create an atmosphere of harmony and negotiation. Having a separation agreement can also make the separation process faster and easier since the agreement can be filed with the court and enforceable.
Things to Consider
One of the most critical aspects to consider when making a separation agreement is the precise process for dividing parenting time and responsibilities. Couples can arrange shared care, primary residency with visitation rights, or alternate weeks. It is essential to think through specific arrangements, such as transportation from one home to the other, holidays, birthdays, and weekends.
Determining property division can also be one of the most complex parts of creating a separation agreement. If a couple cannot agree on how property and other assets should be divided, a court may need to intervene. In addition, it is fundamental to be mindful of taxes and conveyancing fees that may result from property sales or transfers.
Finally, it is paramount to look at the financial implications of separating. This can include calculating child support or spousal support, debts and financial obligations, and ensuring that both parties are left in a financially stable position.
Enforcing a Separation Agreement
One key aspect to consider when making a separation agreement is to ensure that the agreement doesn’t go against any state laws. Once the agreement is drafted, both parties need to sign it and have it notarized. After notarization, both parties should receive a copy of the agreement. If the parties later fail to abide by the agreement, one party may seek the enforcement of the agreement in court. This can be done either in the family court or the provincial court of their region.
In summary, separation agreements are an effective way for newly separated couples to avoid legal battles and preserve their autonomy. A successful separation agreement means that both parties must consider parenting time, property division, and financial considerations. If you are a newly separated couple, it is essential to seek legal counsel to ensure that your separation agreement is legally binding and that each party can look back on it with understanding and respect. Separation agreements are essential documents when separating, and by keeping emotional considerations aside, they can provide a framework for both parties to start a new life.