Are you looking for a separation agreement in BC? Our top lawyers offer British Columbia separation legal advice. When a couple separates, what happens to their things and debts?
Also, what happens if you had a child? What about parental responsibilities? Therefore, they are a list of legal issues that need to be resolved.
If you are looking for a separation agreement in BC, fill out the form on the side of this page.
Many people want to know how legal separation works. According to Statistics Canada, more than 840,000 people identify as being separated from their spouses.
Also, almost two million people are divorced. Divorce is the legal process for terminating a marriage.
However, there are reasons two people who are not getting along might decide to wait and not get a divorce. For them, separation could provide enough time apart to resolve their marital issues. They can reflect and decide if the relationship can or should be saved.
This article will provide some tips to ensure that your legal separation is successful.
Parental Responsibilities In British Columbia
How does legal separation work? A divorce must go through court to obtain an order. This court order will be signed by a judge. Once that is done, it will end your marriage.
Separation is accomplished by living separately and apart from your spouse. This is done without the need to obtain court approval or the consent of both spouses.
The term “legal separation” is technically incorrect. This is because of the lack of a court action being required for someone to be separated.
In fact, living separately and apart from your spouse can be accomplished without the necessity of one of the parties moving out of the house.
Parenting concerns or financial constraints could force couples to decide to separate without one of them moving out.
All the law requires is that a couple separating while continuing to reside in the same home maintain separate lives. For example, they cannot take meals together.
Also, they wouldn’t sleep in the same bedroom. Further, they won’t engage in activities normally associated with being married.
There are a lot of legal issues when a couple separates. Examples of family law issues might be the division of property, child support, and spousal support. If things get nasty, you might need to hire a family law firm to get you a court order.
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Family Law Act and Parenting Time
Do you need a separation agreement? Separation encompasses much more than a couple living apart. There are other issues that arise in a typical family situation. Further, this happens when people decide to go their separate ways.
These family law issues include:
- Division of property you and your spouse own together and separately
- Child custody and parenting
- Child support
- Spousal support
- Division of debts and other financial obligations
- Rights to pensions, registered retirement savings plans and other types of retirement plans
Separation Agreement BC
How does legal separation work? Resolving these and other issues related to the marriage and your family now instead of later avoids conflicts and disputes that could end up in court.
A negotiated agreement is a better way to deal with family issues than relying upon a judge to decide them through a formal court proceeding that takes time and can be costly.
It is always better to settle matters directly with your spouse. This can be done through negotiations.
The alternative is to have a decision forced upon you by a court. Reducing the terms of your agreement to writing is the best course of action in order to ensure that it can be enforced in the courts.
Proving a verbal agreement can be difficult if not impossible. There are other benefits of having a written agreement with your spouse on family and financial issues.
It expedites the process of obtaining a divorce if you or your spouse elects to file for one at a later date.
You should get a lawyer to draft a separation agreement. Further, this is a legally binding contract between you and your ex. Also, the lawyer can help you with other legal issues you might be facing.
What Are Separation Agreements?
A separation agreement is a formal, written contract. It contains the terms and conditions agreed upon by you and your spouse. The law does not require the services of a lawyer to negotiate and draft a separation agreement. But having one to look out for your interests is advisable.
For example, your lawyer will ensure there is full and complete financial disclosure. This is done before recommending that you sign a separation agreement.
You need honest and complete disclosure of your spouse’s income and finances. Then you can be in a position to make an informed decision. This decision is about the terms that you agree to in a separation agreement.
Whatever you agree to in a separation agreement affects you for years to come. This happens both financially and in terms of your relationship with your children.
As a general rule, judges are reluctant to change the terms. This is assuming it was a freely negotiated agreement.
This is true unless you can prove your spouse gave false information. Also, you might show they gave misleading financial information. You must show you made decisions based upon which the agreement was based.
Independent Legal Advice and Family Law Issues
The lawyer will provide advice and guidance during the planning of your separation. They will make certain your separation agreement contains language that is clear and unambiguous.
This is important to ensure it is legally binding. Also, the agreement needs to be enforceable in court. Therefore, this will be important should your spouse ever fail to comply with it.
Can you provide a list of the responsibilities that a parent has?
Below is a list of some of the parental responsibilities:
- Receiving information about a child’s education or health
- Protecting a child’s legal and financial situation
- Making decisions about who a child spends time with
- Being able to supervise a child
- Getting ID for a child (passport, driver’s license, health card…etc)
- Making decisions about religion or language
Can I get child support and spousal support? Only if your ex-spouse can afford it. The family courts have ruled that child support is more important than spousal support.
Some parents use child support money to support their own lifestyle. We don’t recommend that as we think it may be considered unethical.
How is child support calculated? There are three things that the family judges often use to determine child support payments.
How much both parents are earning. Not just what the parent is currently earning, but what they can earn given the parent’s education and experience.
What is in the best interests of the child? The child should be affected as little as possible by the separation.
The judge will not grant a divorce until there is a strong arrangement in place for the care of the child. Parents always come second in the courts to children.
The family lawyers and their legal teams can assist with the following areas of family law:
- Spousal Support
- Cohabitation Agreement
- Family Mediation
- Divorce Mediation
- Separation Agreement
- Marriage Agreement
- Custody Battle
- Child Support
Separation Agreement BC and Property And Debt
If you have a serious family law issue, it’s better to book a free consultation. This should be with an experienced divorce lawyer.
Examples of serious family law matters are spousal support, child support, child custody, and division of assets. Therefore, if you need legal advice, speak to a lawyer today.
You do not want to make a mistake and never get to see your child again. Also, you also don’t want to end up having to pay your spouse hundreds of thousands of dollars. This might be because you didn’t hire the right divorce lawyer.
Most noteworthy is that you don’t want to spend time going back and forward between lawyers with paperwork. That is the best way to create a massive legal bill. Therefore, hire a divorce lawyer to do it right the first time.
Common Questions About Separation Agreements In BC
How do I become a guardian of a child? A parent who never lived with a child is not a guardian unless they can prove:
- An agreement existed saying you were a guardian
- There were intentions for there to be more than two individuals as the child’s parents and guardians
- You regularly cared for the child
Do I need to go to court to become the guardian of a child? Yes, the only way is to get a court order. Above all, the courts want to see that the plan takes the child’s best interests in their heart.
Hire a lawyer to do a separation agreement in BC.
Author: Alistair Vigier is the CEO of ClearWay Law