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Why do you need a Separation Agreement?

By | - October 7, 2019

Steve Benmor is a recognized divorce lawyer, family mediator, arbitrator, speaker, writer and educator. Mr. Benmor has worked as lead counsel in many divorce trials, held many leadership positions in the legal community and has been regularly interviewed on television, radio and in newspapers as an expert in Family Law.

Many people who separate do not understand what legal steps need to be taken in order to conclude their marriage.

In Ontario, there are two ways to achieve a divorce settlement – either a Final Court Order or a Separation Agreement. To obtain an Order, at least one spouse decides to use the court system to resolve their affairs. This may be because of domestic violence, bad faith negotiations, refusal to make financial disclosure or the parties taking unreasonable positions for settlement.  

Most divorces do not involve the Family Court system and result in an out-of-court settlement in a document called a Separation Agreement.   Such an agreement is a binding legal contract between the two spouses, prepared by their lawyers, and reviewed with the spouses to ensure their agreement to its terms.

There are many good reasons for a Separation Agreement.   If a couple has kids, the Separation Agreement sets out the daily parenting schedule and holiday schedule. It sets out who pays for what expense of the children.  It also addresses the process for decision-making.  

If a couple had property like a home or savings, a Separation Agreement will set out how the home is going to be divided.  A Separation Agreement also protects each spouse from future liabilities such as credit card debt.  

A Separation Agreement is the easiest and least expensive way to achieve a divorce settlement.  Make sure you discuss your options with your lawyer before considering Family  Court.   

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