There may come a point where you both know the relationship is over. If you were never formally married, you are technically not getting divorced in the eyes of the law. That would require a court order. Instead, you can work out the details in a separation agreement, meaning you and your spouse will determine how to divide your property, handle support, and share custody if you have children together.
A separation agreement outlines the specific provisions of what your separation looks like from a material standpoint. In other words, a separation agreement details your rights and responsibilities regarding the division of shared property and debt, custody and access, and in some cases, financial support of or from your former partner. A separation agreement is your legal guarantee that the decisions you two made when ending your relationship can be enforced if you file the separation agreement with the Court.
What is a Separation Agreement
At Westside Family Law, we know the decisions you make today will have significant impact on your future, whether or not they are codified in a separation agreement. Our family lawyers will seek family law resolutions that protect what matters most to you. This, of course, will depend on your unique circumstances and goals, but in general includes:
- Seeking a fair share of the assets you helped build during the relationship.
- Ensuring that any family debt you possess is divided fairly.
- Protecting your access to and time with your children, if you have any.
- Protecting inheritances, personal investments and other property covered by a cohabitation or marriage agreement.
- Seeking spousal support (even as a common law partner or spouse) or minimizing support obligations.
Our lawyers are adept at drafting separation agreements specific to our clients’ particular needs and wishes. We will help you work through areas of dispute by offering clarity around your options and a clear head in an often difficult situation.
How Is Separation Different From Divorce?
Only married people can get divorced under the law. Common law couples who separate do not require a court order to signify that the parties are separated. Common law couples may still require a court order or separation agreement to resolve issues of parenting time, division of assets and support. Married couples may also negotiate a separation agreement prior to obtaining a divorce.
You also do not need to go to Court to get a separation agreement, though you may file your agreement with the Court to ensure that it is enforceable. Many families end up negotiating the terms of their separation agreement through alternative dispute processes like mediation or collaborative law. Of course, high-conflict cases may still require Court intervention.
Creating An Agreement That Works For You
Details in a separation agreement are critically important. Most successful separation agreements include input from both parties, which is why processes like mediation and collaborative law often work well. As long as both parties remain flexible, even those involved in difficult breakups can create solid separation agreements going forward. Fill out the contact form below to set up a consultation with a separation agreement lawyer, or call us at 604-734-7911 to get started.