When married couples in Ontario develop marital problems, they have different options, one of which is to end the marriage. However, a divorce is not a process that is completed overnight; in fact, some divorce procedures can take months or even years to finalize. That will bring about a period of separation for which to prepare.
One way to deal with this issue is to draft a separation agreement. With the help of a divorce lawyer, such an agreement can be done as a legal contract, signed by both spouses. The details of how they have settled issues can be included, and if it works during the separation, it might even be used to finalize the divorce decree when the time comes, thereby saving both time and money.
Matters that may be addressed in a separation agreement include living arrangements for each spouse and any children there may be. Custody of and access to the children, along with parenting plans, can be added. An interim arrangement about spousal and child support may form part of the agreement, although the court will have the final say about child support at the time when the divorce is finalized. The couple can also specify how they will divide their property and their debts, and a clause can be added that can prevent either spouse being held responsible for debts incurred by the other during the time of separation.
These are but some of the issues that most people include in a separation agreement. However, the dynamics of each couple are unique, and the contract can be drafted to suit their circumstances. With the support and guidance of an experienced Ontario divorce lawyer, a separation agreement could be prepared that may protect the interests of both parties in the time leading up to the divorce.
Source: canada.ca, "Legal matters when you separate or divorce", Accessed on Dec. 6, 2017