Most people think that they need to “file” for separation, and then “file” for divorce. This is not true.
If you have no assets or liabilities to divide, you may not need a Separation Agreement- in which case, you can go directly to filing your divorce. If you have children, parenting and child support arrangements will form a part of your divorce filing.
If you do have assets and liabilities, we provide a simple, and cost effective document that is final and legally binding.
What you Should Know about Separation Agreements
A common reason clients ask for separation agreements is because their bank has asked for one. They want to transfer the title of their home from both parties to the spouse who will be keeping the home after the divorce, and their bank says it requires a separation agreement for this to proceed. In other cases, they have agreements regarding parenting, support, or the division of property, that they want to be “put on paper” so that they keep each other accountable, and protect themselves legally.
A legal separation agreement in Alberta is a written document drafted after a married couple separates. A typical separation agreement includes clauses pertaining to the particulars of the parties and their children, spousal support, the division of the matrimonial assets, parties’ personal assets and liabilities, custody, parenting, child support, and financial disclosure. It is, in essence, an all-encompassing document that covers the agreements made by both parties.
- A separation agreement is not proof that you have been separated from your spouse the required one year before filing for divorce in Alberta.
- A separation agreement does not initiate the Alberta divorce proceedings. That document is the Statement of Claim for Divorce.
- A separation agreement is not mandatory to file for Divorce in Alberta.
When parties are struggling to agree and move forward with their divorce, the best course of action is to meet with a mediator who can help them sort through their issues. A final document can then be drafted and signed by both parties. This is a much smoother process than each hiring a lawyer to tackle each issue separately.
Things Can Go Wrong with Separation Agreements
Many people like having a separation agreement in place, as it represents a tangible proof of what’s been agreed upon. It is also useful as proof when conducting post-separation transactions with Canada Revenue Agency, your employer, as well as the bank.
However, things go wrong with separation agreements for many reasons.
Sometimes parties do not provide full and complete disclosure. Other times couples get stuck on some of the issues. That’s when a peaceful agreement can turn into a long paper trail that turns into an overwhelming and long-lasting ordeal, before divorce proceedings even begin. Again, this gets expensive.
If your bank, or another agency has told you they require a separation agreement to advance your file, TDS can help. There are other legal documents that can satisfy their requirements that do not require hiring two lawyers. Our team of divorce filing experts can help you draft the right document for your needs.
If you’d like information about how to start divorce proceedings with all the documents you need and none you don’t, call or email us to learn more about the Constructive Divorce™ process today.