A Separation Agreement is a domestic contract detailing the terms for a settlement resulting from the dissolution of a marriage. A comprehensive agreement mitigates the need to go to court and have a judge make decisions on your behalf. The mediator provides the administrative service of facilitating the negotiations according to the Family Law Act, provides all financial calculations and writes the separation agreement. The agreement is legally binding once it is dated, signed by both parties and witnessed.
The typical issues to be resolved and documented in a Separation Agreement are:
- Property division & equalization
- Terms for the sale or transfer of the matrimonial home
- Parenting time and residency
- Parenting Plan and co-parenting commitments
- Child Support
- Spousal Support
Independent Legal Advice (ILA)
During mediation legal information is provided based on the “norms” of the Family Law Act however the mediator is not a lawyer and cannot provide legal advice. It is advised that both parties obtain ILA before signing their agreement to ensure they are satisfied that their rights and obligations are reflected in the agreement they have negotiated.
In some cases spouses are undecided whether mediation is suitable for their situation. A planning session is an opportunity to get an overview of the process, the issues they may have to settle and the documents that will be required. The information shared during this meeting will be helpful regardless of how the parties decide to proceed.