Separation Agreements

Vaughan Separation Agreement Lawyers

A separation agreement is a domestic contract as defined under the Family Law Act which separating spouses can enter into to document their agreement on all issues arising out of a separation, including parenting time (formerly termed “access”) and decision-making authority (formerly termed “custody”), child and spousal support, and division and equalization of property.

Ideally, terms of a separation agreement are agreed upon through negotiation, mediation, or the Collaborative Family Law process.

If complete agreement is not possible, you or your spouse can bring an application to ask the court to rule on the issues remaining in dispute. However, this gives the control and power to a judge to make a binding decision on the unresolved issues that will impact each member of your family. If privacy is a paramount concern, a private dispute resolution process may be preferable.

A Separation Agreement Tailored to Your Needs

At Bortolussi Family Law in Vaughan, our divorce lawyers will help you craft a fair and comprehensive separation agreement that reflects your family’s unique circumstances. Before providing advice, we take the time to really listen to your goals and how you’d like to achieve them. From there, we will recommend the best possible process to come to terms with your former spouse or partner and draft an agreement that accurately reflects your interests.

The Prerequisites of a Valid Separation Agreement

To be effective, a separation agreement must be legally binding and enforceable. It must withstand judicial scrutiny should you need to enforce any of the terms in the future. In order to be considered valid, the following conditions must be met at the time the agreement is drafted and/or signed:

  • Full financial disclosure must be exchanged between the parties. This is necessary so that the spouses can understand the family’s financial situation, including income, assets, and debts and so that their lawyers can give them a meaningful legal opinion on what their legal obligations and entitlements are.
  • Each party must obtain independent legal advice based on financial disclosure, ensuring that each person understands the terms of the agreement and the legal consequences to them of those terms.
  • Compliance with the formalities of the Family Law Act for signature of the parties.

What Is the Difference Between a Memorandum of Understanding and a Separation Agreement?

A memorandum of understanding is a document setting out the terms in principle to which a separating couple have agreed. Generally, a memorandum is prepared by a family mediator as part of the mediation process and is intended to be used as a basis for the separation agreement. A memorandum of understanding is not a binding agreement unless it is signed by both parties, and the normal requirements for a valid separation agreement have been observed.

The separation agreement which follows can be drafted by your mediator if the mediator is a lawyer or by your family law lawyer or that of your spouse or partner. The separation agreement will contain the terms included in the memorandum of understanding, along with any required additional wording to provide clarity and give effect to the agreement and the nuances that the parties intend and agreed to at the mediation. This gives the parties time to reflect on and confirm their position without feeling pressure at the end of a mediation session to finalize a binding agreement then and there.

Contact Bortolussi Family Law in Vaughan for Skilled Drafting & Review of Separation Agreements

The experienced family lawyers at Bortolussi Family Law draft custom and comprehensive separation agreements with a view to withstanding judicial scrutiny if enforcement becomes necessary or the agreement is challenged by the other party. We work with legally married and cohabitating couples to create an agreement tailored to each family’s unique circumstances. Our team also regularly provides independent legal advice on separation agreements drafted elsewhere prior to signing.

Our lawyers have over 120 years of combined experience working with families across the wealth spectrum and with varying degrees of complexity in terms of their family dynamic. We have seen it all, and we’ll put our considerable experience to work crafting a custom-tailored separation agreement that meets your family’s needs. To discuss your circumstances with a member of our team, please reach out to us online or by phone at 416-987-3300.

“My lawyer did an excellent job of clarifying the situation, balancing the emotions and provided positive support and encouragement for the process and the future.” S.F.

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