Partial Separation Agreements
In an ideal world, all separating spouses would resolve the issues stemming from their separation in an amicable fashion by way of a comprehensive Separation Agreement. In essence, one document that takes care of all issues on a final basis. Unfortunately, the circumstances of each separation are different, and in many cases, solutions are often found on one issue weeks, months, or even years in advance of other issues. As a result, I frequently find myself in a position where I am retained for the purpose of drafting a Partial Separation Agreement.
At the Feldstein Family Law Group, we offer the un-bundling of legal services, meaning that you can hire us for a very specific task as opposed to hiring us to handle every element of your separation. While this option is sometimes exercised by clients as a cost-saving tactic, it is also often exercised out of need.
For example: what if you and your spouse both want to have your home sold as immediately as possible but aren’t ready or aren’t able to resolve issues surrounding support just yet? Or what if you and your spouse have reached an understanding on all child related issues, including custody, but have not even begun to address all other issues and you wish to start residing physically separate? In both cases, the sooner you can get a formal, written agreement in place, the better. You do not need to wait to resolve any other issues, nor do you need to wait a year to get something in writing. This is a mistake people commonly make because of the grounds for divorce in Ontario, which include living separate and apart for one year. In my experience, Partial Agreements also facilitate the eventual full and final settlement of other unresolved issues.
There are some risks to signing Partial Separation Agreements, which vary depending on the subject matter. Steps can be taken to mitigate these risks. This is another reason I would encourage anyone looking to formalize any element of their separation to get independent legal advice before they agree to anything with their spouse.
If you think your situation requires the drafting of a Partial Separation Agreement, or you want to ask questions about the preparation of a more comprehensive Agreement, please contact us at (905) 581-7222 to schedule a consultation.
For the Feldstein Family Law Group, I’m Nick Slinko.