What To Do If Your Spouse Will Not Sign A Separation Agreement

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We understand how separating from your spouse/partner can be an incredibly stressful and emotionally draining situation to find oneself in. However, we also recognize that these circumstances can become that much more difficult when your spouse/partner chooses not to work towards a resolution, directly with you or through mediation, and refuses to consider signing a separation agreement. Unfortunately, this likely means the only course of action may be the litigation process.


By turning to our family law firm in Calgary, we can help you to navigate this process and assist you in reaching the outcome you are looking for. In the meantime, let us briefly explore what separation agreements are and how you can respond if your spouse/partner refuses to consider or sign one.


What Is A Separation Agreement?


A separation agreement is a contract between you and your spouse/partner that is legally enforceable following your separation or divorce. The goal of a separation agreement is to clearly settle all issues of support for children and/or spouses, parenting, and the division of property and debts while facilitating a smooth transition to your future and obtaining any applicable divorce judgment.


A detailed separation agreement should include the following:


  • Full financial disclosure of both parties;
  • Division of family property;
  • Allocation of family debts;
  • Conclude arrangements for spousal support, child support; decision-making authority for children, and parenting;
  • A roadmap for resolving future disputes such as mediation, mediation/arbitration, the litigation process, or a combination of any of these;
  • Any provisions to make amendments


It’s important to note that separation agreements are not legally required in Alberta. That being said, these contracts do have their advantages, as they save time and money, permit both spouses/partners to collaborate and dissolve their relationship together and in a dignified manner, establish clear boundaries and set the course for each party’s individual futures, and they facilitate the smooth conclusion of divorce proceedings.

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What Happens If Your Spouse Will Not Sign A Separation Agreement?


What happens if one spouse/partner desires a separation agreement and the other either doesn’t want to participate or stops participating after the process has commenced? Well, a spouse/partner may opt not to sign a separation agreement for a number of reasons, including an unwillingness to come to terms with the separation itself or even a fear for the future. For some, there is a feeling of financial security in attempting to hold on to a failed relationship with someone familiar rather than contemplating an unknown future alone. 


Regardless of the cause, it’s important to avoid pressuring your spouse/partner and force a signature as the Court may later rescind any agreement reached through coercion or undue influence.


Instead, it’s recommended that you reach out to a family lawyer because if you can’t reach an agreement together, it will be the Court that will dictate everyone’s future– and neither of you may be happy with the result. 


With the years of experience and in-depth knowledge of the divorce legal system in Alberta that your family lawyer has, the best course of action can be determined. Some of these may include filing an application in court if your spouse/partner continues to avoid or reject any contemplation of settlement. Often, it only takes one Court application to convey the seriousness of the matter to one’s spouse/partner to get that party to return to settlement discussions and, ultimately, to attain a separation agreement.


If a spouse/partner refuses to entertain or sign a separation agreement, it will not jeopardize your legal entitlements or the ability to obtain a future divorce; it simply means your resolution will take a bit more time and expense to achieve. Fortunately, with McLean Legal Family Lawyers, you will get there!


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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