The best and most viable alternative to a protracted divorce conducted through the courts is for separating parties (be they married or common law) to draft a Separation Agreement that will, ideally, address all of the outstanding issues arising from the dissolution of the marriage, including but not limited to, division of property, child and spousal support, and custody and access.
A separation agreement can be as limited or as exhaustive as the parties desire. A separation agreement requires that parties provide full financial disclosure and that they have a meeting of minds regarding their objectives. A separating couple will set out what each of them wants and from there competent counsel will work to draft an agreement that stipulates the entitlements and obligations of each party.
A well-crafted, detailed separation agreement should address everything from the specifics of each party’s access to the children to the monetary amounts payable by each spouse. It is an invaluable tool that is ideal for those couples who wish to avoid the court system and reach a mutually-agreeable settlement.
A good family law attorney will help you ensure that you receive and provide appropriate disclosure, and that the agreement protects your rights and interests, and is in keeping with the relevant support provisions of the Family Law Act.
Your family lawyer will also ensure the validity of your agreement and explain to you its ramifications, advantages, and disadvantages. He or she will work with you to craft an agreement to which you will, ideally, be able to adhere until such time as its support provisions are no longer in effect, ultimately saving you countless dollars in expense and hours of litigation.
A properly prepared Separation Agreement is a private contract that need not be filed with the courts, except where a party requires enforcement of the terms of the agreement. A properly drafted agreement is enforceable as if it were a court order.
The family law lawyers at Epstein & Associates are well versed in family law and drafting separation agreements. Please contact our office to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your domestic contract in Newmarket, Richmond Hill or Barrie.