If you’re in the process of separating from your partner, there are many things you will be turning your mind to; like parenting arrangements if there are children, property settlement and spousal maintenance. Many separating couples are able to agree these arrangements between themselves. However, it is our recommendation to consider formalising any arrangements wherever possible, to clarify the position of all parties and protect your interests both now and in the future. Formalising your family law arrangements can still be done amicably.
Reaching an agreement with your former partner can have many advantages:
There are a number of things you need to give consideration to once you’ve separated; whether it’s amicable or not.
The below list is designed to help you work through the various tasks in a methodical way. It is by no means exhaustive and some of the options may not suit you at this time. If the separation is amicable, you may want to consider discussing these with your former partner so you can both attend to them for yourselves.
It is important to have your agreement legally formalised. At the very least, if it is recorded in writing, it ensures that you and your former partner are “on the same page” and have the same understanding of the agreement reached.
Having the agreement made binding also avoids each of you being able to change your mind later on. It ensures that you can move on with your new lives without the worry of your former partner making a claim against you in the future.
There are different ways to make your agreement binding and the way that is preferable in your case will depend on your circumstances and the nature of your agreement.
Your agreement would usually be formalised by you and your former partner entering into some or all of the following:
The majority of work we do at Emera Family Law involves assisting our clients with amicable settlements.
If you have already reached an agreement with your former partner, we can advise you about the “fairness” of your agreement and ensure you have considered all necessary aspects of your agreement before proceeding. We can also advise you about what type of settlement document would best suit your needs and we can draft the document so that the agreement is legally binding.
Even where separation is a mutual decision and the parties are amicable, there may still be some disagreement or uncertainty about the finer details of your property, financial or parenting arrangements.
If you and your former partner are unable to reach an agreement amongst yourselves, we can assist by negotiating with your former partner (or their lawyer) before preparing the documents to make it legally binding.
This article is of a general nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. If you require further information, advice or assistance for your specific circumstances, please contact Emera Family Law.