What is a Separation Agreement in Alberta?
A separation agreement is a written agreement that sets how issues involved with the end of their relationship will be resolved. Separation agreement lawyers will explain your legal rights and then help negotiate the terms of the agreement. If the couple decides to divorce, the separation agreement can be used as the basis of the divorce order. This means that the cost of the actual divorce should be significantly lower than if there are disputes. Want to learn more about separation agreements? Keep reading or call our Calgary, Alberta lawyers. Kahane Law Office 403-225-8810.
Legal matters do Separation Agreements Deal With
Issues involving Children
Separation agreement lawyers make sure that the separation agreement deals with issues that relate to your children. These issues include:
- Who has custody of the children
- Who the children will live with and when
- Who will have access, when they will have access and how access times are determined
- The amount of child support that will be paid
- At what point child support will end.
Agreements Dealing with Spousal Support
In addition to child support, spousal support may be paid. This is sometimes referred to as alimony. Our Calgary separation agreement lawyers will advise and determine if spouse support is payable. If spouse support is waived, the agreement will also state if a party can later make a claim for spousal support. They will also determine for how long such payments are payable. Once agreed upon, this will be included in the separation agreement.
Dividing Matrimonial Property
Separation agreements drafted by lawyers should deal with all the assets, or matrimonial property, owned by the separating couple. The agreement should contain a clear and well drafted list of which items will belong to which spouse. It will also deal with how any properties that need to be sold will be dealt with. For example, will the matrimonial home be sold. Further, it will say who will be responsible for the sale and how the net funds will be split up. We can also help with Mortgage Qualification Separation Agreements.
All Matrimonial Debts
Much like all assets, all debts but be set out and split up. The debts will need to be assumed by one of the parties or agreed to be paid out. Sometimes debts are paid out from the sale of the matrimonial home. Separation agreement lawyers also set out in the agreement how debts that each individual incurs after separation will be deal with.
Pensions, RSPs, RESPs other retirement income
The separation agreement will also set out how retirement income sources will be split. In many cases, these investments will not start paying out until one or both parties reach a certain age. Your separation agreement lawyer will help you understand how these investments can be divided between you and your spouse.
Why Lawyers Should Draft Separation Agreements
A separation agreement is an important and legally binding contract between spouses. People assume significant responsibilities and give up significant legal rights in separation agreements. In Alberta, the courts have stated that separating couples should have a lawyer give independent legal advice from a lawyer for the agreement to be binding. Further, For a separation agreement to be binding, the law requires:
- that both parties are aware of the nature and effect of the agreement;
- that both parties are aware of any Matrimonial Property Act potential future claim and that you are willing to give up that claim;
- that both parties have independent lawyers and sign the agreement separately from one another; and
- that both parties are signing without being forced into signing the agreement (voluntary and freely).
Why Cheaper, on-line or drafting services may be a bad idea
Online services offer some savings for separation agreements. The issue is that many of them are made for other jurisdictions. They may not be valid in Alberta. With local document preparation services, the issue is that the court still required independent legal advice for the agreement to be binding. Learn more about ILA for separation agreements here. Once the couple pays for the agreement and the costs of reviewing, possibly re-drafting and giving two sets of Independent legal advice, the cost may be equal or more than if a lawyer drafted the separation agreement to begin with. There are legal battles fought over whether a separation agreement is valid or not. Each party pays their lawyer to represent them in the courts, and the courts, can and do find that the agreement is not valid. Learn more about separation agreements on our YouTube Legal Minute.
Our Separation Agreement Lawyers can Help You
As a firm we pride ourselves on exceptional service. That is easy to say and more difficult to prove. In 2013 we were recognized by the Top Choice Awards as the Top Family Law Firm of 2013 in Calgary.
To schedule a appointment with one of our separation agreement lawyers to discuss your entitlements, obligations and drafting an agreement, please contact our experienced team at Kahane Law Office. You can reach us toll-free at 1-877-225-8817, or 403-225-8810 locally in Calgary, Alberta or email us directly here.