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A Separation Agreement is a contract between two spouses when there is a breakdown in their relationship.
The agreement covers essential issues in connection with the separation, including:
Separation Agreements are typically entered into if the spouses are married and begin living separately and apart due to a breakdown in the relationship. However, if common-law spouses have had a child together or have property they own together, they may choose to enter into a Separation Agreement.
A Separation Agreement is an amicable, more affordable solution than going to court. The agreement is only enforceable if the following requirements are met:
For married couples, the law usually requires that spouses separate before they can file for divorce. For married couples, the Separation Agreement can be a permanent or temporary contract. Usually, the agreement is permanent and survives the divorce, if any, so the spouses may continue enforcing it. In other words, some spouses may agree that the contract only applies until the date of divorce; or they can agree that it survives the divorce. The purpose is to allow spouses to keep enforcing the contract after divorce. If the spouses weren't married, the agreement doesn't survive divorce.
HOW TO USE THIS DOCUMENT
If the spouses seek a divorce or there's a breakdown in the relationship and don't want to pursue litigation, they may sign a separation agreement. The Agreement will cover the rights and obligations of the spouses, including support, child custody and other essential issues noted above.
The spouses will need to work together to disclose their assets and liabilities to each other and decide how they would like to outline their financial support and obligations towards each other and the children, if any. Assets (property) and liabilities (debts) include a list containing sources of income, employment benefits such as a dental plan, bank accounts, land, vehicles, and more.
The spouses may agree to consult a lawyer before executing the document due to the nature of the fundamental and personal rights involved.
Signed copies of the document should be kept in a safe and secure location such as a safe, bank safety deposit box, or with a lawyer. The spouses should also scan and upload the signed document to a personal computer.
If circumstances change, such as a change in the financial position of one of the spouses, they can sign an addendum to the Agreement to make such changes.
Separation Agreements are a type of domestic contract, which is governed by the law of each Province and Territory. For example, in Ontario, the Family Law Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. F.3, governs Separation Agreements. Additionally, if the spouses are getting divorced, the Canada Divorce Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. 3 (2nd Supp.)) applies.
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