The host of the National Geographic Channel's 'Dog Whisperer', Cesar Millan is filing for divorce from his wife, Illusion Millan. After 16 years of marriage and two children, the parties have decided to call it quits. The parties are friends and have agreed to the co-parenting of their two boys. Cesar filed for divorce citing irreconcilable differences. Illusion is seeking primary physical custody and access for Cesar as well as spousal support from Cesar.
Should the parties enter into a Separation Agreement??
Separation Agreements are typically used by parties upon the breakdown of the marriage or a common law relationship. They are more commonly used by parties that have an amicable relationship such as Cesar and Illusion. Separation Agreements provide the parties for arrangements upon separation or divorce.
A Separation Agreement can resolve issues in a matter on a final or interim basis depending on the needs of the parties. Cesar and Illusion will be required to disclose their financial information to one another including their incomes (assuming they are both working), assets, debts and liabilities. If they do not, this may result in the court setting aside the Separation Agreement in the future.
Some of the provisions that can be included in Cesar and Illusions Agreement are as follows:
- The children's custody information, such as who will have custody of the children and with whom the children will live with and access arrangements including vacations and holiday time. Here, Illusion would like the children to reside with her while Cesar has access to the children;
- Child support information including to whom it is payable and the duration of same. It may also be prudent to include the timelines for the exchange of financial disclosure in the future as the parties' income may change over the years;
- Spousal support information such as who will pay support and the duration and amount of same. Here, it is likely that Cesar may be required to pay spousal support to Illusion given his high income and the duration of the marriage;
- Property division including the sale of the matrimonial home, the division of the contents of the home and equalization payment;
- Outstanding debt information in order to ensure that Cesar and Illusion address which spouse will be responsible for which debts they currently have.
Each Separation Agreement will vary according to the facts of that particular case. The courts prefer that parties enter into a Separation Agreement rather than engage in the family court system because a Separation Agreement is more likely to satisfy both parties' needs and needless to say, court is rather expensive and time-consuming. Lastly, it is important to note that both parties should obtain Independent Legal Advice regarding the Agreement.