9360 34 Ave NW Edmonton, Alberta T6E 5X8

Separation Agreements: Everything You Should Know

Separation Agreements: Everything You Should Know
20 August 2022

Without the time and money commitment of a contested divorce, a separation agreement can help you and your current spouse gets through the challenging process of separating. If a married couple decides they want to live apart, they can legally use this document to do so.

You and your spouse will have more leeway in crafting an agreement that meets your needs and those of your family, although it shares many features with a divorce settlement.

Time, energy, and money can all be saved by preparing the divorce paperwork on your own. In many cases, you can get a divorce decree without hiring an attorney or going through the court system.

Define the Terms of a Separation Agreement

When a couple decides to end their marriage, they can create a legally binding document called a separation agreement. When a couple decides to end their marriage, they can use a prenuptial agreement to formally divide their assets, debts, and other marital responsibilities so that both parties feel like they've been treated fairly. Separation agreements are used not only by couples who are confident that they will eventually divorce but also by those who wish to live apart temporarily in the hopes of reconciling later.

Issues such as child custody, visitation, child support, alimony, and property division may all be addressed in this confidential document. If both parties have agreed to a separation in writing before the divorce is finalized, the agreement can be submitted to the court by the attorneys involved in the case.

Due to the binding nature of a legal separation agreement, it is in everyone's best interest for the divorcing couple to consider their respective positions and work diligently toward reaching a mutual agreement on all issues.

Justifications for Considering a Divorce Settlement

A couple's decision to split up can be motivated by many factors. Among the many possible occasions on which a separation agreement would be appropriate are the following:

  • A couple who has decided to live apart temporarily but still wants to stay married: This frequently happens as newlyweds try to figure out their lives together. They want to resolve their differences while temporarily living apart, but they are unsure of the future. Having mutually agreed upon provisions for shared responsibilities during separation is a significant benefit of having an agreement.
  • A husband and wife who have decided to separate: Suppose a couple has made the difficult decision to end their marriage. In that case, a separation agreement can help them move forward by laying out the terms by which they will divide their assets, debts, liabilities, properties, and other responsibilities (such as parenting time) in the event of a divorce. In such cases, the separation agreement is often incorporated into the divorce judgment.
  • A couple who has decided to separate while remaining legally married: A couple may choose to live apart but remain legally married for various reasons. A separation agreement is still helpful in this situation because it clarifies how financial obligations will be split.

So what exactly should be in my divorce agreement?

All over again, it depends on the specifics. Due to the unique nature of each partnership, the process of dissolving it will take on its special appearance. This is the foundation upon which you should build:

  • Children: Who gets custody of the kids? Where does their money come from? How much and what kind of visitation time do parents get?
  • Money: How will you split the estate? To what extent will the debt be shared? Will one party make spousal or partner maintenance payments to another?
  • Property: Should we expect a sale and subsequent proceeds split? Will one party retain ownership of specific assets?

There may be other considerations, depending on your situation's specifics. Among other things, the law requires complete openness regarding your financial situation.

Other issues will inevitably surface during the separation agreement process, and some may render the agreement invalid.

When getting a divorce, do you need a lawyer, or can you make your agreement?

There's always the option of drafting your separation agreement with your spouse. However, there are times when expert assistance is warranted. The following are some examples:

  • A mediator can help you reach a consensus on contentious issues. In separation mediation, just as in divorce mediation, a trained, neutral mediator will help you and your spouse negotiate and resolve your disagreements. Additionally, most mediators will draught a document that includes the terms of any agreements reached.
  • Seek the advice of a family lawyer or financial advisor if you and your spouse are dealing with complicated finances or other complex issues during your divorce. It is possible to consult an attorney during or before a mediation session. Suppose you have drafted a settlement agreement and want to ensure it covers all bases, protects your interests, and satisfies the requirements for a legal separation in your state. In that case, it is highly recommended that you have an attorney review the document before signing it.

As difficult as it is to consider ending a relationship, a separation agreement can help smooth the way. To make a good decision for both of you, educating yourself on contracts before you start is a good idea.