Toronto Family Lawyers - Separation Agreements

Find A Toronto Family Lawyer For Separation Agreements

Toronto Family Lawyers - Separation Agreements

What Is A Separation Agreement?

We’ve all heard of prenuptial agreements (better known as prenups). However, some of us have heard little to nothing about separation agreements. The main difference between the two is that prenups are agreements made before a marriage, while separation agreements are made upon the breakdown of the marriage. It’s technical definition is: a private agreement made between two spouses, or common law partners, that are separating, with a view to resolving any parenting issues, support issues (spousal support and child support), as well as the division of property.


It goes without saying that the issues involved in a separation, which includes drafting a separation agreement, can be highly complicated, and have long term effects on your legal rights and obligations. It is never a wise idea for you to represent yourself in a divorce, or attempt to draft your own separation agreement. While this may save you money in the short term, it is more than likely going to cost you even more money in the long term. It takes a skilled Toronto Family Lawyer to draft an equitable separation agreement that represents all your rights, and clearly defines your obligations. At LawyerSelect.ca, we specialize in connecting clients with some of the best Toronto Family Lawyers who can assist you in drafting a separation agreement that will stand the test of time.


It is important to note here that you and your spouse are precluded from using the same Toronto Family Lawyer to draft and/or review a separation agreement. The family law in Ontario requires that each spouse retain a separate lawyer to draft or review the separation agreement, so as to ensure that each party receives unbiased, sound legal advice.  

What Are The Benefits Of A Separation Agreement?

The benefits of a separation agreement are many, but the most important of all is the financial savings by the spouses. To effect a successful separation agreement, the parties will typically need to engage in some sort of negotiations with one another, whether that’s done through their respective lawyers, or through a family law mediator. Whatever the path selected, the costs associated will likely be far less than those that would have been incurred by the parties had they chosen to litigate the issues. In other words, separation agreements almost always cost less than going to trial. However, in order for a separation agreement to be successful, both parties must be willing to come to the negotiation table with a cooperative attitude. Once the separation agreement has been executed by both parties, it can be treated like a Court Order, which may be enforced by one or both of the spouses later on should one of the parties fail to live up to their obligations under the agreement. In other words, the separation agreement is binding and enforceable.


At LawyerSelect.ca, we realize that this is a trying time in your life. That’s why we do our best to uncomplicated the matter as much as possible for you. With the help of a skilled Toronto Family Lawyer, you can have peace of mind that your rights will be protected, and your obligations will be made clear to you.

What Issues Can Be Addressed In A Separation Agreement?

Before we address some of the most important issues that should be addressed in a separation agreement, it is important to note that drafting a separation agreement on your own may lead to a court finding that the agreement is unreasonable, and therefore, unenforceable. This typically occurs when the court feels that one of the parties influenced the other into accepting an agreement that benefits them less. The court is less likely to come to that conclusion if both parties were represented by separate Toronto Family Lawyers at the time the agreement was executed. Therefore, you should be weary of drafting a separation agreement on your own just to save some money in the short term. At LawyerSelect.ca, we’ll quickly put you in touch with some of the best Toronto Family Lawyers who can help you draft an equitable separation agreement.


With respect to the issues that should typically be addressed in a separation agreement, the following is a small representation:

  • The unique, personal information of the spouses involved in the separation agreement. For example, each party’s name, their dates of birth, and other personal identifying information.
  • Landmark dates of the marriage. This may include dates like the day of marriage, the day of separation, and other important dates.
  • Child Custody and Access. The separation agreement can cover things like custody arrangements, living arrangements for the child or children, an access schedule for the live-away parent, a plan of action should one of the parents move away, and other logistical issues related to the custody, access and upbringing of the child or children involved.
  • The issue of Spousal Support. The separation agreement can cover things like how much will be paid by one spouse to the other, for how long, and if it is being waived by the entitled party, an agreement reflecting the waiver of that right.
  • The Division of Property and Equalization Payments. This part of the separation agreement will usually deal with matters relating to the division of property between the spouses, as well as the equalization payment that is owed by the spouse with the higher net worth to the other spouse. It can also deal with matters relating to the matrimonial home of the couple, like whether one spouse intends on buying out the other, who will continue to make the mortgage payments, whether the home will be sold, and how the proceeds of the sale will be divided amongst the couple.
  • Outstanding Debts. This part of the separation agreement will typically deal with how the responsibility of the debts will be divided among the couple, and any payment schedule for the debts’ satisfaction.
  • TFSAs, RRSPs, RESPs, Pensions, Life Insurance, and Other Benefits. This part of the separation agreement will articulate how those assets are going to be divided amongst the parties involved, and the schedule for their liquidation.

Each Spouse Must Make Financial Disclosure To The Other

We’ve all heard of a divorce or separation story where one spouse tried to hide money and assets from the other. This problem dates back many years, and a great deal has been written on the issue. To avoid the inequality that would result from a situation like this, the law mandates each spouse to make full and frank financial disclosure to the other while in the process of negotiating and drafting a separation agreement. Each spouse will need to disclose information regarding their assets, debts, liabilities (contingent and otherwise), as well as all income streams. The failure by one spouse to make full and frank financial disclosure could result in a later court setting aside the separation agreement for want of disclosure. This makes absolute sense. There’s no way that a party can know what they’re entitled to by law unless the other party tells them openly and honestly what they have.


Additionally, the importance of full and frank financial disclosure applies to reviewing lawyers as well. When a Toronto Family Lawyer is retained to review or draft a separation agreement, they won’t be able to give you an accurate opinion on your rights and obligations, unless they have a complete financial picture of both you and your spouse. Therefore, you should always attempt to make full and frank financial disclosure when negotiating and/or drafting a separation agreement. At LawyerSelect.ca, we work with some of the best Toronto Family Lawyers who can help you get this process started, and ensure your rights are protected throughout.

How Do I Know If My Separation Agreement Is Valid?

At mentioned in the previous section, a couple that intends on entering into a separation agreement with one another should be absolutely mindful that making full and frank financial disclosure of their assets, debts, liabilities and income is very important. By doing so, a party averts the future potential of a court setting aside the separation agreement for want of disclosure, based on a complaining party’s allegations that they were unaware of your full financial picture. Separation agreements require a great deal of technical understanding.


The general rule is that a separation agreement that is based on each party making full and frank financial disclosure, as well as each party receiving independent legal advice on the separation agreement, then such agreement is likely to stand up to legal scrutiny by a reviewing court.


Additionally, like most of contractual agreements, a separation agreement typically needs to be signed by both parties, witnessed, and dated. Once all those prerequisites are met, the separation agreement will become a binding legal document enforceable against the parties who are part of it. At LawyerSelect.ca, we’ll put you in touch with a skilled Toronto Family Lawyer who can ensure all your rights are protected, and your obligations clearly articulated, in a separation agreement. Contact us now to get in touch with some of the best Toronto Family Lawyers.


Why Do I Need A Toronto Family Lawyer To Draft A Separation Agreement?

It's no secret that the internet is filled with "do-it-yourself" separation agreement kits that claim to be comprehensive. That's utter nonsense. The truth is that what makes or breaks a separation agreement is its level of detail and the foresightedness of its author. The ability to foresee eventualities is a product of both intelligence and experience, neither of which a "do-it-yourself" kit can provide. Every case that comes before an experienced Toronto Family Lawyer has unique attributes that will require him or her to alter their approach and adjust their tactics. No two situations are alike. Furthermore, the "do-it-yourself" kits do not guide you through the process of financial disclosure, which is absolutely necessary if the separation agreement is to hold up against any future challenges to its validity. If the spouses have not fulfilled the requisite disclosure requirements, then the validity of the separation agreement will be in question. And lastly, the process of obtaining Independent Legal Advise on the separation agreement acts as a counterargument to any future claim by your spouse that they never fully understood the terms of the agreement, and therefore, should not be bound by them. Those who opt out of the legal process by using a "do-it-yourself" kit will not receive the protection afforded by the giving of Independent Legal Advice.


At LawyerSelect.ca, we encourage you to take advantage of our free Lawyer Referral Service, and let us connect you with a Toronto Family Lawyer who can assist you in drafting an equitable and enforceable separation agreement. 

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