A separation agreement is a written contract between two individuals who are planning to separate (or have already separated) and can be used by both married and unmarried couples. There are many advantages to creating a separation agreement versus going through the traditional court process.

Negotiations during or leading up to a separation agreement are simply discussions that the parties have with each other in order to settle their matters. It is always a good idea to have a  lawyer present when negotiating the terms of your agreement, to ensure your rights are protected. It also is not necessary for the parties to directly discuss these matters face to face, especially if emotions are too high. In these cases, it is possible to hire lawyers who will act as a channel for negotiations.

Once agreements are reached on both ends about outstanding issues, the agreement will be written into a Separation Agreement. Once it is signed, it becomes a binding legal contract.

Benefits of a Separation Agreement

One of the biggest advantages of drafting a separation agreement is the fact that it formally documents the financial agreements agreed upon and the steps that need to be taken. This will help to avoid misunderstandings or tensions in the future.

Other benefits include:

  • The process is typically faster than going through court.
  • It will also be cheaper than doing everything through court.
  • It will help reduce stress and tension during the process.
  • It will provide both parties with clarity on financial arrangements.

When entering into a separation agreement, you want to be sure that it will be legally binding, meaning, that a court would uphold it if it is ever challenged. It will be more likely to be held up in court both parties have received independent legal advice on the agreement before entering into it.  Additionally, both parties must give full disclosure of their respective financial circumstances, in order to protect the agreement from challenge in the future. 

Limitations of a Separation Agreement

One of the major limitations in negotiations is in high-conflict situations, for example, where one of the spouses is negotiating in bad faith, meaning they want to delay negotiations and drag it on.  However, although a lot of people assume this is how their spouse will act, in practice, it is not a common occurrence.

If your spouse is not willing to negotiate in good faith, you may be have to end up going to court, or getting legal advice on whether it would make sense to enter into an Arbitration process. 

For more information about negotiating a separation agreement or about any other family law issues in Ontario, please contact your family lawyer at Lloyd & Kemper Family Lawyers today.