A separation agreement is not a judicial requirement to file for a divorce in Ontario. However, drafting one can be a worthwhile idea. A separation agreement is a legally binding contract between you and your ex-spouse that lays out the terms of your financial and legal separation. After the separation agreement is signed, it is treated as a court order, meaning that the agreement becomes a legally binding document. Therefore, the court can enforce the document if one party fails to meet its obligation under the agreement.
Why Is A Separation Agreement Important?
To begin with, a separation agreement offers both parties (you and your spouse) a degree of control over what each of you will receive post-separation. In addition, it also offers an opportunity to spell out the decisions in writing so that there are no misunderstandings later. Thus, having a separating agreement offers both parties peace of mind, knowing that all the issues have been dealt with and the second party cannot make or change claims against you.
Likewise, drafting a separation agreement also provides an affordable and effective alternative for you and your spouse to work out specific issues without spending exorbitant time and money in court proceedings. However, most importantly, couples with children who are getting a divorce are strongly recommended to get a separation agreement drafted. When children are involved in a divorce, it may not proceed without the subject of child support being entirely resolved. The Divorce Judge might demand to know if adequate child support arrangements are made before granting a Divorce order.
Therefore, although a separation agreement is not mandatory before getting a divorce in Ontario, having one can streamline and uncomplicate the divorce process and reduce the ensuing expenses for both parties. Furthermore, when children are involved, a separation agreement becomes pretty much a necessity or mandate.
Components Of A Separation Agreement
Section 54 of the Family Law Act deals with separation agreements in Ontario. The act was amended in 2020 and contained clauses regarding the rights and obligations of two persons entering the separation agreement. A good separation agreement drafted by the best-reviewed lawyer in Ontario will comprise the following components –
- Division of property
- Ownership of property
- Possession of the marital home
- Child custody or right to decision-making and parenting time
- Right to direct the education and moral training of their children
- Child support
- Special and extraordinary expenses for the child
- Spousal support
- Medical and dental benefits
- Life insurance
- Pension, RRSPs, and investment accounts
- Dispute Resolution
- Any other matter in settlement of the affairs of the couple
Furthermore, a good divorce settlement also addresses the issue of divorce. It will have a clause to allow either party to file an uncontested divorce to prevent unnecessary complications in the future.
So, there we have it, a concise report on whether or not a separation agreement is mandatory before divorce in Ontario. Although the firm answer is ‘no,’ one cannot stress enough on the importance of drafting a divorce settlement. Hiring family lawyers from the top law firm of Brampton can help ease the tumultuous process that a divorce or separation demands.