There may come a time when your marriage starts to disintegrate, and getting along with your spouse becomes difficult. At this point, you may be considering separation. This decision is not easy and requires serious consideration. It may be wise to employ the services of someone who deals with issues involving separation, such as a family lawyer.
What is separation?
Separation is often confused with a divorce—but the two are different concepts. Separation can refer to couples in a marriage as well as those living in a common-law relationship, and it occurs once a couple decides to live apart from each other.
Trial separation involves a married couple agreeing to live apart for a period. During trial separation, the couple remains legally married, and any income or marital property that existed in the union will remain jointly owned. With trial separation, a couple can use the time to decide whether they want to get a divorce or work on mending their marriage.
Permanent separation involves being separated from your spouse with no intention of reconciling. However, you are still married.
At the time of separation, it would be wise to create a separation agreement that outlines the rights and responsibilities of each spouse moving forward. A separation agreement, once properly drafted and signed, is a legally binding contract, and the terms of such an agreement can only be changed by an amending agreement and failing that, a Court Order. Therefore, you should consult a family lawyer before signing a separation agreement.
There is no time limit for how long must be separated before filing for divorce. You can file for divorce at any time after separation. However, the divorce will not be granted until you have been separated for one full year, providing this is what both parties want.
How can a family lawyer help?
A family lawyer can help with whichever type of separation you choose. They provide years of education, training and experience and will do the following:
1. Outline your rights
Family lawyers will explain your rights and options as well as advise on the implications of any decision that is to be made.
With clear legal advice from your family lawyer, you are better able to address any reservations you may have.
2. Prepare agreements
Family lawyers can help to draft your separation agreement. Once both parties come to a settlement, it is recorded in this agreement. They review the agreement to ensure fairness and the exclusion of any unenforceable terms. Family lawyers also help to guide you through the separation process.
3. Negotiate terms
Having a family lawyer means that you have an experienced representative to negotiate on your behalf. Any misconceptions you may have can be clarified by your family lawyer. Key points being expressed in negotiations that you may miss can be picked up by your lawyer. They ensure the separation process goes as smoothly as possible and negotiations are done fairly.
Are you considering separating from your spouse? Talk to an experienced family lawyer for guidance. If you live in the Oakville, Ontario area, contact us at Carpenter Family Law. Our family lawyer will explain complicated legal issues and guide you through the separation and divorce process. Give us a call to schedule a consultation today!