You and your spouse are separated when you are living apart from each other, and one or both of you have made a permanent decision not to resume your life together. Our law does not require you and your spouse to live together and there is nothing in the law that requires you to obtain permission from the court or any other person to separate.
It is of utmost importance to have the terms of your separation recorded in a separation agreement prepared by a lawyer. The agreement must be in the form of a separation agreement to comply with the definition of a “domestic contract,” which has special significance in family law. A properly executed separation agreement that is prepared by a lawyer will govern the rights and obligations of the parties with respect to each other at separation, following a divorce and even upon death.
Prior to separation you need to know your legal rights and obligations under family law. The decisions you make concerning a separation will have significant impact on issues such as possession or sale of your matrimonial home, custody of your children, child support, spousal support and how your property and assets will be divided. These are only some of the areas that you must consider prior to separation since they will impact on the strategy of out-of-court settlement negotiations or the way in which your matter is litigated in court. Our highly experienced family law lawyers can help you with these critical decisions.
Once a separation has occurred, we can offer you expert family law advice and direction in assisting you to reach the best possible resolution of your family law issues. Our out-of-court negotiated settlements incorporate a multi-disciplinary approach, working with family counsellors and psychologists in the emotionally laden issues of custody and access and with tax experts, accountants, trustees in bankruptcy, pension valuators, appraisers and estate planners on the complex issues of spousal support, and matrimonial property division including corporate reorganizations, share division, RRSP rollovers, pension valuations, estate freezes, family trusts and bankruptcy. We have the knowledge and experience to guide you through settlement negotiations to achieve the best possible outcome whether through lawyer negotiations, mediation or arbitration.