Separation Agreement

A separation agreement is a legally binding document, signed between both parties, which contains all the arrangements that were made in regards to the divorce. This contract sets out each parties’ decisions and rights with regards to spousal support, child support, custody, access (residential care), property, assets, and debts. This document is often more than 20 pages considering all the decisions and the legal wording that is required.

Without a proper separation agreement, things may quickly become messy with regards to child custody and co-parenting, living arrangements, support payments, visitation, and holidays.

How to Get a Separation Agreement 

There are many ways to get a separation agreement, or at least a draft completed.

  • Hire a lawyer
  • Mediation
  • Arbitration
  • Collaborative law
  • Do-it-Yourself
  • Self-Representation
  • Fairway Divorce Solutions  (Using Independently Negotiated Resolution)

Emotions matter, but they shouldn’t play havoc with your smart decision making. We use a proprietary step-by-step process that centers on making decisions about finances and co-parenting vs. creating a circus of using affidavits and legal applications that often focus on non-factual differences of opinion.

The issues in divorce have not changed, but the laws have.

It used to be that if you were faced with a divorce, you had better run out and hire the best lawyer you could find. That was because the results in the courts were very much dependent on the Judge you had that day and the talent of your lawyer. Two things have changed that.

The first was the introduction of the updated Provincial Property Acts in the ’80s and ’90s and the Child Support and Spousal Support guidelines in the ’90s. The bottom line is that the goal posts you are negotiating between are quite narrow, Therefore, your outcome is more predictable regardless of whether you fight it out with lawyers or use an alternative dispute solution.

While it is possible to take a position and fight about specific issues, the cost associated with taking a hard stance is often more than what you gained. The best scenario for you is that you achieve a fair outcome whereby you received what was “just” within the eyes of the law and “fair” considering your personal situation. There are only two things in divorce: money and kids, and you want to ensure both are protected and that you keep as much of your net worth in your pocket as you can.

Alternative Dispute Resolution has become the standard.

A less expensive and increasingly popular way, often resulting in better outcomes is known as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). This methodology includes both mediation and arbitration. Mediation is a process in which a divorcing couple negotiate their issues with regards to money and parenting, with a neutral third party. The mediator helps the spouses negotiate and communicate but does not make decisions for them. Contrast this with an Arbitrator who makes the final decision much like a Judge but without that title or courts endorsement. The mediator will facilitate decisions based on the mediator’s expertise, and may add some direction in the area they are knowledgeable.

Mediation itself is not binding so that a party can disengage if necessary. The intention is that the parties come to a resolution on the issues through divorce mediation. Then, these decisions are drafted into the separation agreement which is signed in front of a lawyer and is legally binding.

Fairway Divorce Solutions services fall under the Alternative Dispute Resolution definition and use a proprietary model known as Independently Negotiated Resolution™ INR to bring resolution and agreement on all issues.

There is still the belief that if the assets are complicated, you should hire a lawyer. If you have complex assets, you will likely need a financially savvy team, including at some point, getting Independent Legal Advice. Getting legal advice is prudent but using lawyers to negotiate the terms and outcomes is better suited to those who understand financials and the implications of different ways of splitting assets, i.e., tax. The team should include those who are experts in financial matters, accountants, business valuators and lawyers who can provide information with regards to the law and how it may apply to your case or cases like yours. Information and knowledge are key to good decision making, but fighting is not necessary.

 At Fairway Divorce Solutions, our start to finish divorce offices deliver the experts you need.

Separation agreement and what it should include:

  • The agreed upon division of property and debt
  • Your co-parenting plans
  • Child Support Arrangements
  • Spousal Support/Adult Interdependent Partner Support arrangements
  • How you will resolve conflicts if they arise in the future
  • Any other details of your separation that you feel are important

The answer is no. While most couples need some help in achieving resolution on their issues, you may have reached a consensus on the issues without the support of any third party. If you have no children and simple property you can likely go straight to divorce filing and include your decisions as part of the application.

Our team at Fairway can draft a separation agreement and file for divorce.

If you have achieved consensus but would feel more confident if a third party helped you ensure you did not overlook anything with regards to child support, custody, spousal support, property division, then Fairway offers a Fast Track service to assist you. You can rest assured that your agreement will stand the test of time and that you did not miss something important to protect your wellbeing in the future.

A separation agreement is a legally binding contract between spouses (married or common-law) or ex-spouses setting out the terms of their relationship after separation (or the decision to separate). This agreement often deals with how property (and debts) will be divided between the spouses, spousal support, child support, child access, and other issues.

As part of Fairway’s strategic start-to-finish process, we guide you through the next steps to finalizing the divorce, including helping you file the divorce documents in applicable provinces.