Separating from your partner can be an emotionally challenging time. However, there are practical matters that need to be addressed as well. One of these matters is creating a separation agreement. This article will discuss what a separation agreement is, why it is important, and what should be included in the said document.
What Is a Separation Agreement?
A separation agreement refers to a legal contract between two people that outlines the terms of the separation. This agreement can cover a wide range of issues, from child custody and support to property division and spousal support. A separation agreement ensures both parties know what is expected of them after the separation.
Why Is It Important?
For one, a separation agreement provides clarity and certainty for both parties. Outlining the terms of the separation in writing leaves less room for confusion or disagreement down the road. Doing so can help prevent future conflicts and legal battles.
Additionally, a separation agreement can help you avoid going to court. If you and your partner can come to an agreement on your own, you can save resources by preventing the need for a court hearing. Doing so can also help you maintain a more amicable relationship with your ex-partner later on.
What Should Be Included in the Agreement?
The specific terms of a separation agreement will vary depending on the circumstances of the separation. However, some common elements should be incorporated in most separation agreements. These include:
1. Child Custody and Support
If you have children, you must address their custody and support in the separation agreement. This includes details about where the children will reside, how much time they will spend with each parent, and how expenses will be divided.
2. Property Division
The separation agreement needs to outline how your property will be divided, including real estate, personal property, bank accounts, investments, retirement accounts, and debts. This may include details about who will keep the family home, how the mortgage will be paid, and how any equity will be divided.
3. Spousal Support
If a spouse is dependent on the other, the separation agreement should address spousal support, also known as alimony. This includes details about the amount, duration, and method of payment of spousal support. The length of the marriage, the earning capability of every spouse, and the standard of living during the marriage can be considered when determining spousal support.
4. Other Issues
Depending on your circumstances, there may be other issues that need to be addressed in the separation agreement. For example, if you own a business together, you may need to address how the business will be divided or managed after the separation.
Tips for Creating a Separation Agreement
Creating a separation agreement can be a complex process, but there are some tips that can help make it easier. Here are some of them:
1. Hire a Lawyer
While it is possible to create a separation agreement on your own, hiring a lawyer to assist you is highly recommended. A lawyer can help ensure that the agreement is legally binding and that your rights are protected.
2. Be Honest
Always be truthful about your finances and assets while creating the separation agreement. Hiding assets or income may result in legal problems down the road.
3. Be Willing to Compromise
Creating a separation agreement requires compromise from both parties. Listen to your partner’s concerns and find solutions for both of you.
4. Review and Update Regularly
Life circumstances can change after a separation, so review and update the separation agreement regularly. That way, you can avoid future conflicts and ensure the agreement remains relevant.
Creating a separation agreement is an important step in the process of separating from your partner. You can ensure a smooth, hassle-free transition into your new life by addressing critical issues like child custody, property division, and spousal support. Seek legal advice, be honest, and be willing to compromise to create an agreement that works for both parties.
We at Dreyer and Associates are dedicated to helping clients through separation and divorce. Our experienced family lawyers in Langley, BC, can guide you through the legal aspects of creating separation agreements and help you understand your rights and responsibilities. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!