How to Make a Separation Agreement

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You have separated from your significant other. You are either living separately and apart in the same residence or living physically apart. Time has passed, and you have come to terms with the separation and want to move forward with your life. You know now is the ideal time to take legal steps to settle matters between you. The solution you have come to has led to looking into a separation agreement in Calgary since you can either negotiate it yourselves or with the assistance of legal counsel. 

However, not everyone knows how to draft a legal document like a separation agreement. 

If you’re wondering where to start in drafting a separation agreement, learn how you can do so here and get it done properly.

Creating a Separation Agreement in Calgary

Addressing Key Issues

As a former couple, various aspects of your lives had become entangled from your time together, such as children and finances. A separation agreement helps to untangle those important aspects, so they’re equitably handled for both parties.

You and your former partner must outline the following issues, as applicable, and include them in the separation agreement:

  • Division of property/assets between you and how and when that will be completed;
  • Allotment of any family debts between you and who remains responsible for a portion(s);
  • Parenting time with children;
  • Child/spousal support. 

As you address each aspect, it’s important to be as detailed as possible. After all, a separation agreement in Alberta is a legally binding contract, so don’t leave any aspect unaddressed, as this contract will guide your rights and entitlements from the present and into the future. 

The Right Documentation

Many might assume that writing up any old document is sufficient. However, that is not true. First, you’ll need to look over your financial records and those of your former significant other to determine your assets and start thinking about how and when they may be split. This is called financial disclosure and is a requirement of both parties, whether using a lawyer or not, to draft a separation agreement. Such transparency is imperative, and if you do not do it, it is unlikely that a Court would permit you to modify a signed separation agreement in the future since you had ample opportunity to disclose and receive a disclosure at the outset.  Do not skip this step because it takes effort or you “just want to get this done (quickly) and move on with your life”. 

Get Legal Guidance

As much as it’s great to have the freedom to create your separation agreement, it’s a fair assumption that you might not know your legal entitlements or how to protect them. You may fail to address an aspect simply because you do not know the right questions to ask. Therefore, it’s strongly recommended to seek legal advice from family lawyers in Calgary. They can explain any unfamiliar legal jargon, review the entirety of your issues, and draft an appropriate and equitable separation agreement. 

Plus, family lawyers in Calgary can provide proper proposals for property division, spousal and child support, custody, and parenting and negotiate with your former significant other or their lawyer. A family lawyer’s legal advice is truly crucial in this process.   

Essentially, their involvement ensures your agreement complies with the latest legislation and case law to provide as much certainty as possible that your agreement, when signed, is legally binding. You can still draft an agreement yourself. But in that instance, it is highly recommended that you at least consult with legal counsel initially or occasionally as you work towards a resolution with your former significant other.  

Signing the Document

Current legislation requires that the agreement must have the following parts to be valid:

  • a witness for each party’s signature;
  • each witness swears an affidavit of witness in front of a commissioner for oaths;
  • each party has their own lawyer acknowledging that they provided independent legal advice;
  • each party acknowledges that they signed the document separately from the other and were not under any duress in signing.

Any agreement missing these requirements is not legal if you want to draft a separation agreement in Calgary.  Additionally, if you have not engaged lawyers to assist in drafting throughout, having independent legal advice is a final assurance you know what you agree to is mandatory. Prices for independent legal advice vary, so be sure to call around to check rates.

There is a brighter future ahead with McLean Legal Family Lawyers. As your dynamic, multi-service family law firm in Calgary, McLean Legal Family Lawyers can offer you personalised legal services tailored to your particular circumstances. We endeavour to resolve matters quickly and with minimal conflict, offering calm, professional, and realistic advice. Given our years of experience in family law, we can assist with your child support, spousal support, divorce, mediation, and separation agreements, as well as civil litigation issues, commercial/corporate services, and real estate transactions. With over 30 years of experience and success, we’re the Calgary family lawyers that offer you a brighter future. Book your free consultation by calling 587-353-2632.

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