Hello, my name is Shilpa Mehta and I am a lawyer with the Feldstein Family Law Group.
Today, I will be speaking to you about Separation Agreements for individuals who were never married. These are most often known as “common law” couples or “common law” relationships, or just “living common law”.
When common law parties separate, they have several process options or approaches they can use to resolve their outstanding issues, including, negotiation, mediation, arbitration, collaborative family law, or proceeding to court.
If they can reach a resolution out of court, then their agreement is reduced to what is known as a Separation Agreement. If the matter remains in court, a court order is obtained.
Separation Agreements will include the terms of the final agreement between the parties regarding child custody and access, parenting arrangements, child and perhaps spousal support and other financial matters. These Agreements will be reviewed and all the terms contained in them must be mutually agreed to by both parties prior to the Agreement being finalized, also known as being executed. The purpose of these domestic contracts is to clearly set out each party’s respective rights and obligations upon separation and going forward.
Sometimes when I meet with clients who lived as part of a common law relationship, or individuals who had a child or children together, but never married, they are surprised to learn that the Separation Agreements are not limited to parties who were married and such contracts can be entered into by common law partners as well.
The truth is, any family law issue, whether the individuals were married or not, can be resolved by way of a Separation Agreement. Remarriage of people who were married requires a divorce, but a divorce is usually easily obtained when there’s a separation agreement in place.
It is important that our viewers understand that negotiating a Separation Agreement is a viable option for common law parties who were not married.
Although the language of the agreement between common law parties will be slightly different from married parties, the gist of the contract is the same.
It is to clearly set out how the parties intend to resolve the immediate issues and how they will proceed on matters such as parenting and support.
If you would like more information on separation agreements for common law or married couples, please visit our website. If you would like to schedule a consultation to speak with one of our lawyers about your family matter, please call us at: (905) 581-7222.
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