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Separation Agreements

What is a Separation Agreement?

A separation agreement is a written contract between two parties that sets out the terms of their separation. In British Columbia, separation agreements are legally binding contracts that are enforceable in court. They can be used to settle a wide range of issues arising from separation, including property division, spousal support, child custody, and other matters.

Separation Agreement British Columbia

Why do I need a Separation Agreement in British Columbia? 

A separation agreement is a way for separated or divorcing couples to resolve their differences in a constructive and orderly manner. Without a separation agreement, disputes over property, support, and other issues may need to be resolved through the courts, which can be time-consuming, costly, and emotionally draining. 

 

A separation agreement can also provide a clear understanding of the rights and obligations of each party, reducing the risk of future disputes. It is important to disclose all assets and liabilities while negotiating the separation agreement to ensure that the terms of the separation agreement are fair and reasonable. 

How do I draft a Separation Agreement in British Columbia?

Drafting a separation agreement can be a complex process, and it is important to seek the advice of a qualified lawyer. A lawyer can help you understand your rights and obligations under the law and can ensure that your separation agreement is legally binding and enforceable.

 

What should be included in a Separation Agreement?

The terms of a separation agreement will vary depending on the individual circumstances of each case. However, some common topics that are typically addressed in a separation agreement in British Columbia include: 

  • Division of property: This includes the division of real estate, personal property, investments, liabilities and other property.
  • Spousal support: This includes the amount of support one spouse will pay to the other, and for how long.
  • Parental Responsibilities & Parenting Time: This includes the arrangements for the care and upbringing of the couple’s children.
  • Child support: This includes the amount of support one parent will pay to the other for the support of their children.

It is important to note that a separation agreement must meet certain legal requirements in order to be enforceable in court. For example, the agreement must be signed by both parties, and each party should have received independent legal advice before signing.

Property Division

British Columbia is a “family property” jurisdiction, which means that family property is divided equally between spouses upon separation or divorce. Family property is defined as all property acquired by either spouse during the marriage, including real estate, personal property, and investments. There are some exceptions to this rule, such as property that was acquired before the marriage or property that was acquired by gift or inheritance – excluded property. A separation agreement can be used to divide family property between spouses in a way that is fair and equitable.

Spousal Support

Spousal support is financial support paid by one spouse to the other following separation or divorce. In British Columbia, there is no automatic entitlement to spousal support. The amount and duration of spousal support will depend on the specific circumstances of each case, including the length of the marriage, the income and earning capacity of each spouse, and the standard of living enjoyed by the family during the marriage. A separation agreement can be used to set out the terms of spousal support, including the amount and duration of support.

Parenting Time and Child Support

Parenting arrangements, parenting time and parental responsibilities, and child support are two of the most important issues that arise from separation or divorce. In British Columbia, the best interests of the child are the paramount consideration in any decision regarding parenting arrangements and child support. A separation agreement can be used to set out the terms of parenting arrangements and amount of child support and s. 7 expenses for the children to be paid by one parent to the other. It is important to note that child support is a right that belongs to the child, not to the parents, and cannot be waived by either parent.

Enforcing a Separation Agreement

If one party fails to comply with the terms of a separation agreement, the other party can seek enforcement of the agreement through the courts. The party seeking enforcement must show that the agreement is valid and binding, that the other party has breached the agreement, and that damages have been suffered as a result of the breach. The court can order specific performance of the agreement, which means that the party in breach must comply with the terms of the agreement, or can award damages for any losses suffered by the other party as a result of the breach.

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