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The Daily Mail has reported that after thirteen years, Helena Bonham Carter has separated from her partner Tim Burton. The Daily Mail further reported that the parties split earlier this year and "have continued to be friends and co-parent their children". Although Tim and Helena may start to become accustomed to living separate and apart, it is important that the legal issues associated with their separation are resolved.

In the event of a marriage breakdown, it is often the case that parties will enter into what is referred to as a "Separation Agreement". In Ontario, a Separation Agreement addresses the legal issues that arise from the breakdown of a marriage. In the case of Helena Carter and Tim Burton, the parties may negotiate a Separation Agreement which addresses the issues of custody, access, child support, spousal support, the matrimonial home and equalization.

In order to reach a mutually agreeable resolution on the above-mentioned issues, Helena and Tim may retain counsel to protect their best interests moving forward. Although they retain counsel, this does not mean that the separation cannot be amicable, or requires court action. Instead, the parties can negotiate a Separation Agreement through their respective counsel. The parties may reach an Agreement on the above-mentioned issues through various alternatives to litigation, such as mediation, arbitration, collaborative law or simple negotiation between the parties.

In order to resolve the majority of legal issues that may arise from the breakdown of a relationship, it is necessary that both parties complete and exchange their financial disclosure.

In Ontario, the exchange of Financial Statements, a court form, and supporting financial documentation, is a crucial step in the negotiation of a Separation Agreement. For example, the issue of child support cannot be properly addressed without considering the following three factors:

(a) the residency arrangement for the children;

(b) the number of children; and

(c) the income of the payor spouse.

It is beneficial for parties, such as Helena and Tim, to resolve the legal issues arising from the breakdown of their relationship amicably as they must continue to co-exist as co-parents. As such, Helena and Tim are likely to enter into a Separation Agreement in the near future resolving the legal issues that have arisen from the breakdown of the marriage.