What Are My Legal Rights in a Separation Agreement in Calgary?

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There is some public confusion regarding their legal rights when getting a separation agreement in Calgary

You can expect legal rights or entitlements to be the same as a divorce. However, how they can be applied often differs from one couple to another. Understanding these differences is key to navigating the right approach when separating from your partner. 

Learn Canada’s legal rights so you know what to expect from the process! 

What is a Separation Agreement?

According to the provincial government of Alberta,” a separation agreement is a contract between parties who are separating or divorcing.” In other words, a separation agreement isn’t limited to married couples but also includes common-law couples. 

Generally, when drafting a separation agreement, it will involve outlining each party’s entitlements on certain issues, which may include:

  • Parenting and guardianship of children;
  • Child/spousal support;
  • Division of property/assets;
  • Apportionment of any family debts.

Separation agreements are known for giving former couples the freedom to create their own solutions. However, for a separation agreement to be considered legally binding, it must be written with a witness to each party’s signature and a certificate of independent legal advice from each party’s lawyer. Verbal agreements simply won’t be sufficient. Each party must be informed of the law and the case law pertaining to the issues they seek to resolve.   

Creating a legally binding separation agreement can be difficult for couples to do themselves; that’s why it’s highly recommended to have family lawyers in Calgary create a separation agreement instead. As you can appreciate, without the aid of lawyers, things can be missed. Assumptions made about what is or is not included, words can be misinterpreted, and it can be costly to fight these matters in Court when they could easily have been avoided. 

Why Get a Separation Agreement?

If you’re separating from a partner, or have already done so, many assume that automatically means one is getting a divorce. That is not necessarily true or at least not right away. There are various reasons why people opt to create and sign a separation agreement first instead of filing for divorce right away. 

For couples with children, a separation agreement is more amicable than the divorce process – which can be a trying time for children and their parents. Seeking a separation agreement as a process is often quicker and less expensive than fighting each individual issue you have between you in Court. 

Furthermore, a separation agreement benefits married couples who wish to live their own lives without one another but can remain married. 

What Legal Rights Exist in Separation?

Before you can draft a separation agreement, you should be aware of when you can do so. You would need to demonstrate or acknowledge that you have been separated physically or, due to lack of resources, living your own life in the same house as your former partner.  

Even though you don’t need to go to court for a separation agreement, it’s still as legally binding as a Court Order. But to enforce it, it needs to be converted into a Court Order. All of the settlements made by the parties are meant to be upheld without variation except regarding children. Since their support and parenting arrangements can change if there’s a material change in circumstances, spousal support, in some cases, may also be capable of changing. So it’s wise to seek out legal advice on these topics.

Whether you conclude a separation agreement through mediation, with the assistance of lawyers, or perhaps both, you can have peace of mind that your issues have been resolved amicably and economically and set the conditions for the new future you are embarking on.

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 personalized 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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