In last week’s blog, we explained the basics of separation agreements. These legal documents plot the path forward for shared aspects of your relationship that outlive its dissolution. This week, we’re going deeper into separation agreements by looking at the common topics most parties.
Unfortunately, as more and more relationships come to an end, us lawyers are becoming quite familiar with separation agreements. After all, they’re an effective way to settle a family law dispute without going to court. It’s important to know your rights and not sign away any entitlements in this document. Start by considering the following common topics found in BC separation agreements.
Dividing Family Property
Under BC’s Family Law Act, family property (and debt) is typically split 50/50 between each party after the relationship ends. It’s highly recommended you both make a list of your assets (along with the approximate value) and attach this list to the separation agreement as an appendix. This means you can both see what the other has listed and assess whether your property have been properly divided.
The Parenting Plan
When children are involved in the relationship, a parenting plan will set out when each guardian has parenting time with the child. Here are several common considerations to think about when drafting your parenting plan:
- Who will have the child on special occasions (birthdays, Christmas, summer break, etc.);
- Can the child travel out of country with one parent (also includes issues such as getting a passport for the child);
- Agreeing on how to communicate about the child (sometimes lines of communication can halt following a break-up); and
- What will happen if one parent needs to move to another province or country.
If one party made sacrifices for the relationship (gave up their career to look after the home or children), or needs some financial support after moving out, they might be entitled to spousal support. Typically, the longer the relationship was, the more likely it is that one party will have to pay spousal support. You can look on MySupportCalculator to get a rough idea about how much spousal support might be payable.
Wills and Insurance
According to BC’s Wills, Estates and Succession Act, if your relationship ends your former spouse will no longer be a beneficiary or executor in your will. That doesn’t mean they still can’t be part of it. If you still want your former spouse to share in your estate, or if this is a term in your separation agreement, you must execute a new will which explains this explicitly. It’s also worth examining any insurance policies that list your ex-spouse as the beneficiary.
Find Out More
Westside Family Law can assist with any legal aspect of the separation agreement process. Contact us and we’ll be happy to assist.