A separation agreement is a contract between two people who are ending a marriage or a common-law relationship and plan to settle all or some of the issues arising as a result of the breakdown of their relationship. A separation agreement can contain almost anything that is relevant to ending your relationship. It may have custody decisions, spousal support agreements, and decisions regarding how property will be divided.
It is important to remember that entering into a separation agreement has a serious and lasting impact on your rights and obligations. It is a good idea to consult a lawyer to obtain assistance in preparing and negotiating a separation agreement.
Settling the issues through the negotiation or mediation of the terms of a separation agreement is typically less costly than commencing a court action. However, in order to reach an agreement, both parties have to want to negotiate and voluntarily enter into the agreement. When negotiating a separation agreement, financial disclousure is extremely important. When parties are negotiating support and property based issues, they have to fully disclose their financial circumstances to each other. Mutual exchange of financial information dispels the potential of the other party stating that they were unaware of your financial circumstances, and which gives them grounds for challenging the separation agreement. The integrity of a separation agreement is also increased when both parties obtain independent legal advice. A separation agreement is a complex document, and drafting it is best left to a lawyer.