In British Columbia, there is no such thing as a legal separation. A couple can separate at any time.
If you do plan on separating, though, it is important to make note of the date of separation. This date is usually the date when one party makes it known to the other that they wish to leave. It is an important date for a variety of legal reasons.
A separation agreement is a signed agreement that outlines how spouses wish to settle the various issues arising from separation prior to, or without, going to court. These issues may include – but are not exclusive to – parenting arrangements, support issues and division of family assets and debts.
If you and your ex-partner are unable to come to an easy agreement on these issues, drafting a separation agreement could be a good idea. It often helps to resolve issues and spurs compromise.
A separation agreement is a legally binding document. It can be filed with the court and legally enforced. If a separation agreement is effective, it is much less stressful, costly and time effective than going to court.
A separation agreement can have a long-lasting impact on your legal rights and obligations. It is worthwhile to speak to a lawyer prior to preparing and completing your separation agreement. It can also protect against your separation agreement being nullified under s. 56(4) of the Family Law Act, which states that such an agreement can be set aside for the following reasons:
- If a party failed to disclose to other significant assets, or significant debts or other liabilities, existing when the agreement was made;
- If a party did not understand the nature or consequences of the agreement; or
- If the agreement is otherwise not in accordance with the law.
It is in your best interests to ensure that both you and your ex-partner understand your separation agreement prior to signing it. It is also in your best interests to consult with an experienced family lawyer.
The lawyers at Sarah Leamon Law Group can help protect your rights when entering into a separation agreement. Call them today to learn how they can help.