If you find yourself asking “What do I do now?” and “Where do I even start?” after a decision to separate, know that you are not alone! The law is complicated and there are many rights and obligations at separation that you may not know you have.
If you and your partner are able to discuss the terms of your separation, that is a good starting point. However, if you believe that you and your partner are agreeable on some terms but are worried about fighting about others, mediation is a great place to start.
Mediation is voluntary and confidential. It allows for you and your partner to take an active role in your separation where you can discuss and hopefully resolve all issues. The mediator is a neutral third party who is there to help you navigate through difficult conversations and ensure that both sides are equally being heard.
A Separation Agreement is your best outcome
Separation Agreements provide parties with timely resolutions that allows both individuals to start their new lives without having to spend years tied up in court and spending tens of thousands on legal costs. The average cost of a court action can range anywhere between $15,000.00 and $150,000.00. On the other hand, the average cost of completing a Separation Agreement can range between $1,500.00 and $3,500.00.
Separation Agreements are binding domestic contracts that set out the agreed upon terms of your separation. Decisions you and your partner will make may include but are not limited to, decisions surrounding ownership in or division of property, any support obligations, as well as custody and access of any children.
Both parties must exchange financial disclosure when completing a Separation Agreement. This is important as it gives both parties a full picture of each other’s financial situation. Financial disclosure is one way of ensuring transparency and the fair treatment of both parties upon separation. People have to know what it is that they are agreeing to in order to make the agreement binding.
Get independent legal advice!
You may have heard people telling you that you should speak to a lawyer before signing a Separation Agreement, otherwise known as getting “independent legal advice” (ILA). They’re right… you should! Lawyers will provide ILA on the contents of a Separation Agreement and ensure that your rights are protected and accurately reflected in accordance with Ontario laws.
Although ILA is not mandatory in Ontario, it is highly recommended. Getting ILA not only better protects you, but also the validity of the Agreement. Parties who enter into Separation Agreements without ILA risk having their agreements set aside by a court down the road.
Call us at 613-233-7000 to book your free 30-minute telephone consultation. Delaney’s Law Firm is here to help you get started on this next chapter of your life.