How to Prepare a Separation Agreement
The decision of separation is never easy as it involves heartbreak, frustration, and lots of emotions. More or less, every couple wants to settle matters between them without going to court. Making a separation agreement is the best choice for them. As per the separation agreement in Alberta, couples must agree on what they want to happen further. If you and your partner decided to separate, put on what you've agreed in the agreement. Meanwhile, you both can decide between divorce and reconciliation. Moreover, you can finalize issues of property, support, and parenting. The rules are the same when you're separated, like when you're married in terms of property ownership. When you are decided to make an agreement, it's a good idea to get legal help. Your separation agreement has to follow some rules to make it executable under the law. A lawyer can help you prepare such a separation agreement.
What is a Separation Agreement
A separation agreement is a legal written agreement between two partners who are about to separate or have separated. The agreement is intended to establish a lot of rights for each, including;
- Who will live in the family home?
- How they’ll pay the family debt?
- How will their property be divided?
- Who will have the child custody?
- Who will pay for spousal and child support?
- What visitation rights the other parent will have?
The separation agreement is not required under the law for a legal separation. A married couple or two common in-law partners can live separately with or without a contract. Moreover, the agreement resolves most of their issues regarding separation. It makes separation easier and helps the spouses to get back to their lives. Hence, it is wise to reach an agreement and validate it as early as possible.
Why Making a Separation Agreement Necessary
- Making an agreement is the cheaper and faster process to reach the decision.
- It is less stressful than going to court.
- You both can decide what is suitable for your family instead of leaving it to court.
- It’s a written proof of what you both have agreed on.
- It can help you get support from Family Responsibility Office especially when there is an issue getting spousal support or child support.
When to Make a Separation Agreement
Two spouses can make a separation agreement at any time after their separation. However, there are time limits for specific facts, such as dividing property. Separated couples get two years after their divorce and six years after their separation to divide the property.
Making an agreement doesn’t mean you have to wait until you both agree on everything. Once you both agree on specific issues, you can make an agreement. Later, you both can work on other matters.
When Making an Agreement is not a Good Idea
There are some situations when making an agreement is not a good choice.
- Your partner abused you in the past, and you're afraid of it.
- When you cannot discuss with your partner, even with the help of others
- When there are drug abuse and mental health issues
- If it is impossible to work with your spouse even with the help of others
Requirements for Preparing a Separation Agreement
First of all, both spouses must be open and honest about their financial situations. It requires their complete revelation of significant assets and liabilities. However, it should be a written agreement that each party with a witness present signs.
The agreement must not enter under any duress, not voluntarily. Some aspects of the agreement may subject to judicial review – especially when the children's rights are involved. The terms and facts of the agreement can be overridden.
What should be included in a Separation Agreement
A separation agreement should include the followings
- When the couple got married, and from when they start to live separately?
- The reason for separation.
- Who will keep the children and claim the child tax credit?
- Who will stay in the family home and pay the taxes?
- The details about the property and debts will the divided between them.
- Where and when will the divorce take place?
- If the separation agreement will continue after their divorce is confirmed?
- During the separation period, how who will support a spouse or child?
Creating a Separation Agreement in Alberta
There are a number of separation agreement toolkits and templates available online. These resources offer guidelines on this kind of issue. If you are preparing it by yourself, you can follow these guidelines. However, the separation process is an emotional journey. It can affect your decision during this process. As a result, you may not be able to make an informed decision. Here an experienced family law professional can help you protect your rights and responsibilities toward your partner and children. The lawyer will act as a mediator to help resolve your issues.
During the separation process, a lot of ups and downs happen between two people. A separation agreement is hence needed if you intend to dissolve your issues after separation. You can either prepare it by yourself, including the necessary things or contact a family law professional for help.
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