Separation & Property Agreements

What is a Separation & Property Agreement?

 If you and your partner mostly agree on what you want to happen when you separate, you can put the terms you have agreed upon on in a Separation & Property Agreement. This Agreement is a binding contract signed by two lawyers that will form the cornerstone of your divorce through the courts.

 The Separation Agreement is your written contract that you and your partner make that says how you will deal with your issues including:

  •         Child maintenance, child health insurance, custody, and visitation rights
  •         Spousal maintenance
  •         Division of shared assets, particularly the marital home
  •         Items that each spouse is entitled to
  •         Who will be responsible for which debts

You can make a separation agreement if you are married or if you are in a common-law relationship.

If you are married, you do not automatically get a divorce by making a Separation agreement but once it is signed by both parties and their family lawyers Red Deer, you are considered legally separated. To finalize the divorce, you must apply to the court and submit a copy of that Agreement and the required divorce documents to satisfy the court that all your issues are resolved.

To have a fully binding legal agreement recognized by the courts, each party will need to have their Red Deer family lawyer sign the agreement and verify that each party has received Independent Legal Advice. While many people order online agreements or simply get a notary to witness their signatures on a “homemade agreement”, these agreements are often rejected by courts because they lack the appropriate legal terms to satisfy the requirements of the court to finalize your divorce. It is always worth paying a professional family lawyer at JD Law to ensure that your divorce goes smoothly and is done right the first time.  

When Should You Make A Separation & Property Agreement? 

You can make a separation agreement at any time after you separate. But there are time limits to ask your partner for some things, like dividing property. That is why it is important to contact a lawyer shortly before or after you separate so that you can protect your rights.

You do not have to wait until you and your partner agree on everything before making a separation agreement. You can make a separation agreement on the things you agree on, while you continue to work on resolving your other issues. For example, if you agree on custody, access, and child and/or spousal support, you can make an agreement dealing with those things, while you continue to work on your property issues.

You can also make a separation agreement that lasts for a certain period of time. For example, if you agree on where your children will live for the next school year, you can say the agreement ends in once the school year finishes and and review the issue of parenting next July 1st.  

You can also change a separation agreement at any time by making a new one if you and your partner agree to the changes and make those changes in writing with a lawyer.

 Why Should You Make A Separation & Property Agreement?

The reasons to have a Separation & Property Agreement are as follows: 

  1.     It is be faster, cheaper, and less stressful than going to court
  2.     It lets you and your partner decide what works best for you and your family, instead of letting a Judge make those decisions
  3.     It lets others involved in your children’s care, such as their school, daycare, and doctor, know what has been agreed on right away
  4.     It makes it easier to prove what you and your partner agreed on in writing rather than trying to enforce a verbal agreement
  5.     The Agreement can be registered with the Director of Maintenance Enforcement if there is a problem getting child support or spousal support paid.

 You should be aware that making a separation agreement may not be the best thing to do in situations where:

  1.     You are afraid of your partner because of a history of violence or abuse
  2.     There have serious mental health or drug abuse concerns about your partner
  3.     That there is no communication between you and your partner
  4.     That you cannot work together with your partner even with help

 In these situations, you may need to use Seal as your mediator to help resolve your issues.