What’s Included in a Separation Agreement?
- 9 January 2019
Now that you have decided to separate from your spouse, there are many considerations you should be aware of, such as support, parenting of your children (if applicable), who will reside in the family home and division and use of all forms of assets and debts.
Expert advice from Calgary-based RCMV Family Law helps our clients explore what options exist and create a tailored separation agreement that reflects the needs of your current situation and the needs of your family, longer-term.
Although under the Divorce Act a divorce based solely on a one-year separation cannot be finalized until that one year is over, our team of family lawyers recommends that couples that are contemplating separation or are currently separated should complete a separation agreement and make a list to determine what’s in the best interests of the children and the parents.
The areas that need to be considered are:
- where the children will live and when, who will make decisions for them, who will pick up and drop off the children.
- Special holiday arrangements for parenting, including Christmas Eve/Day, summer vacation, etc.
- Travel arrangements and restrictions, including passports and travel letters
- Who gets the dogs or cats, and how are the costs for food, care, and vet bills divided?
- Allocation of debts and obligations to pay (note: not only who takes care of existing debts but also what happens to renegotiate existing joint loans/debts of both)
- Who gets what property, should it be sold, how will proceeds be divided
- Don’t forget that you need to consider such items as CPP plans and other pensions, life insurance policy, tax refunds, RRSPs, investments such as stocks/bonds, income trusts, and other investments, bank accounts
- Are there spousal support needs and what will the numbers look like
- Are there child support obligations and what are they
- Are there extra expenses associated with the children and how will that affect budgets
- How the parties will pay support and If the Alberta Maintenance Enforcement Program will be required
- Who will provide and pay for healthcare plans
Parties who live separate and apart are considered separated and can make arrangements for all of the above issues even before they complete a divorce.
The Alberta government also requires separating parents to participate in a free, six-hour Parenting After Separation seminar either in person or online. This is required to bring any application regarding children at the Court of Queen’s Bench, be it parenting or support. Some basic legal advice will be given during this course, as well as topics such as the impacts of separation and divorce on children and mediation resources.
At RCMV we are here to help you understand the process and your rights in making all of the necessary decisions and to help you make the process of creating a separation agreement as smooth as possible.