Family law: The down side of do-it-yourself separation agreements

On behalf of Gary Kirk of Kirk Montoute Dawson LLP posted in Family Law on Monday, October 29, 2018.

Separation agreements may make sense for a couple splitting up but not divorcing. However, under family law in Canada, these agreements aren’t valid unless there are certain things in place. Merely writing one up, signing it and having it witnessed doesn’t mean it would eventually hold up in court. Each partner needs to have independent legal counsel when it comes to a separation agreement.

The agreement should be completely transparent when it comes to finances. Wise separation agreements pull no punches when it comes to a couple’s assets and money situation. With this in mind, both parties should sign a legally binding document attesting to the agreement’s financial validity.

Having a fair and equitable legal document in place may save money in the long run. Fighting about a document that wouldn’t hold water in court could cost thousands. Having legal advice would ensure each party understands the terms of the agreement and knows what they are signing.

A do-it-yourself legal separation document can be risky. One partner could claim misunderstanding and courts don’t look favorably on documents that don’t adhere to legalities. Having a family law lawyer in Canada at least look over an agreement will save time, money and likely a lot of stress in the long run if the document is challenged. A lawyer will also be able to explain what exactly a marital separation means legally and how it differs from divorce and what it means regarding property, child and spousal support, division of debts and other issues pertaining to a marital split. 

Related Posts: Understanding home ownership and property rights in a divorce, Travelling without children during a family law dispute, Set boundaries and rules to protect kids from child custody drama, Protecting credit amidst a family law dispute