Divorce is a difficult time for everyone involved. And, your family lawyer can help alleviate the stress that often comes along with divorce. The divorce process includes many different steps—and understanding them can be challenging.
Let’s explore if you need a separation agreement before filing for divorce and how the process works.
What Is a Separation Agreement?
A separation agreement is a legal contract between a couple, a written record of how they have settled issues related to their separation. A separation agreement is a faster and usually less expensive way to resolve issues rather than going to court.
A separation agreement can include details such as:
- How you will divide property
- How you will divide debts
- Living arrangements
- Custody (parenting) of children
- Child support payments
- Any spousal support related matters.
It is an excellent idea for each partner involved to get advice from their family law lawyer to go over the details of a separation agreement.
If you and your partner disagree on certain issues of the separation agreement, you may need to go to court, so consulting your family lawyer beforehand can save you some time and stress.
Is a Separation Agreement Required Before Divorce?
A question many people can have is if a separation agreement is required before divorce. The answer is no—you do not need a separation agreement before divorce. However, if you have children, you need to provide evidence that financial arrangements have been made to take care of the children.
While it is advised to review the grounds for divorce in a separation agreement to cover all the different factors, you can file for divorce without doing so.
There are 3 legally accepted grounds for divorce, according to the Divorce Act of Canada:
- One-year Separation
Separation is when you and your partner have lived apart for at least 1 year before the court makes a divorce judgment. A separation agreement is not required at this time. However, it can result in lengthy court proceedings to decide all the separation factors should one not enter into a separation agreement in advance of finalizing a divorce.
What Is an Uncontested Divorce?
An uncontested divorce can also be a viable option for individuals who have settled their issues through a separation agreement or other avenues.
An uncontested divorce is when the following issues have been settled:
- Parenting access
A separation agreement can fast-track the process and help both sides come to an agreement quickly.
Preparation Is Key
Divorce is complex and challenging to manage for all parties involved, and a separation agreement can alleviate some of the stress that comes along with the process. While not required before a divorce, your family lawyer can help draft your separation agreement to fast-track the process.
This memorandum is for informational purposes only, does not constitute legal advice or an opinion, and does not create a solicitor-client relationship. This is an overview and is not intended to be a complete and exhaustive explanation of the concepts covered. This information may become inaccurate based on passage of time or changes in the law. Nothing herein should be relied upon without seeking the advice of a lawyer.