SEPARATION AGREEMENT LAWYER IN NEW WESTMINSTER, BC
Going through a separation is often challenging. However, working with a lawyer can greatly facilitate the process, saving you time, money and often the stress of going to court.
At Valerie M. Little Law Corporation, our experienced family lawyer can help you draft a fair and comprehensive separation agreement. Contact us today to learn more about our family law services in New Westminster, Burnaby, Coquitlam and across the Vancouver Lower Mainland.
What Is a Separation Agreement?
A separation agreement is a legally binding contract that stipulates how a couple will handle various issues related to their separation, including living arrangements, division of property, child support and child custody. It is a more convenient and affordable means of managing a separation than going to court.
As a legally binding contract, a separation agreement is enforceable by law should one of the parties fail to fulfill their obligations.
Who Can Sign a Separation Agreement?
Any married or common-law couple who wishes to separate can sign a separation agreement. In British Colombia, a couple is in a common-law relationship and considered a “spouse,” if they have cohabited for at least two years.
If you want to separate from your spouse, you do not require their permission. Nor do you have to sign any documents or go to court. Moreover, spouses can be separated and still live in the same house together.
Note that two people will usually be treated as separated when they no longer live as though they are married. This can occur when they no longer share meals, participate in social activities together or take vacations together.
What Is The Difference Between a Separation and a Divorce?
Legal separation does not end a marriage. There are a number of reasons why you may want to remain legally married despite a decision to live apart from your spouse. These include the following:
You are still undecided about getting a divorce or are not yet emotionally prepared for this step.
You are opposed to divorce for religious reasons.
There is a financial incentive to remaining married. For example, if it allows you or your spouse to receive additional government, tax, health care or insurance benefits.
You want to finalize issues prior to beginning the divorce process.
Why Do Couples Get Separation Agreements?
Separation agreements are sought when couples wish to formalize their division of assets and debts.
Separation agreements are also commonly sought in circumstances where couples who have children together have decided to separate. This allows them to formally settle issues around parenting plans, residency, parenting responsibilities, parenting times, travel parameters with the children, etc.
What Is Included in a Separation Agreement?
A separation agreement aims to provide resolutions for all current and future issues faced by a married or common-law couple who have chosen to separate. It may include details on the following matters:
Division of property (including personal property)
Division of debts
Access to children
Wills and estates
Why Is It a Good Idea to Work with a Lawyer?
Separation agreements are taken very seriously in Canadian courts. Unless there are issues with the contract, it will be legally binding. If you have a lawyer guide you through the process of creating a separation agreement, this will help ensure that both parties are satisfied with the conditions. Ideally, each spouse should receive independent legal advice before signing the agreement.
When you work with a lawyer, this also helps ensure that the agreement is legally valid. If the terms are found to be vague or unreasonable, the terms may not be enforceable or later accepted by a court.
Finally, working with a qualified lawyer will increase the likelihood that the separation agreement is comprehensive and fair. A lawyer should also ensure that the agreement is properly drafted and clearly worded and is generally in keeping with the law, as it exists at the time the agreement is signed.
A Separation Agreement Lawyer in New Westminster
Let Valerie M. Little ease your stress by avoiding court and helping you reach a resolution with your ex-spouse. She can then incorporate the agreed-upon terms into a legal and binding separation agreement. Contact us today to learn more about how our separation agreement lawyer can help your family in New Westminster and across the Lower Mainland of Vancouver.
Valerie M. Little Law Corporation is centrally located in New Westminster and serves the surrounding areas of Burnaby, Maple Ridge, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Vancouver, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Port Moody, Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale, Delta, Langley, Tri-Cities, the Lower Mainland, Squamish and Whistler.