Married couples and common-law spouses should always consider separation agreements when their relationship ends. Although the absence of a separation agreement does not mean the parties have not separated, an agreement will help outline the actual date of separation which is of the utmost importance when determining:
- Division of Property
- Spousal Support
- Understanding Assets and Liabilities
- Custody and Guardianship
- Child Support
Separation agreements are formal, legal documents setting out final or temporary agreements by the parties regarding all legal issues arising from their separation.
Separation Agreements vs. Litigation
It almost always better to negotiate and settle a dispute than to litigate and resolve a dispute by trial. While a settlement usually gives neither party all of what they wished for, it will give them as much of what they asked for as possible. Litigation is stressful and expensive, offers no guarantees of success, and can be extraordinarily acrimonious. A negotiated settlement is less stressful, much cheaper, and gives the parties the best chance of not hating each other at the end of the process.
Separation agreements in Alberta can deal with almost any issue a couple faces. They can also offer more flexibility than court orders, as some terms that can be put into an agreement that can’t be put into a court order. Most importantly, separation agreements can be tailored to meet the specific needs and circumstances of each couple.
Should I Trial a Separation?
While legal separation and divorce share similarities in their long-term outcomes, there are several benefits to moving through the trial separation process in Alberta before filing for divorce.
Such benefits include:
- Time apart for cooling down and reassessing the situation.
- Retention of medical benefits and additional policies that would be void by divorce.
- Religious flexibility, if divorce is a conflict with personal beliefs.
- Remaining married for over 10 years can have effects on the retention of certain military benefits.
- Remaining married for over 10 years can have effects on the retention of CPP.
- If the decision for divorce is made, the legal separation agreement can be transferred into a divorce settlement agreement.
The Edmonton family law firm of Coley Hennessy Cassis Ewasko provides a friendly, confidential, and trusting atmosphere for clients. Contact our Edmonton family lawyers at 1-780-800-7623 and explore the options you have with a separation agreement, and how it can help you avoid a costly and court ordered
divorce in Alberta.