If you are thinking about separating from your spouse or have already started the “unofficial” process of separating, you may be wondering “how can I legally officiate a separation from my spouse?” Here is a quick look at the Separation Agreement process in Ontario.
1. First the spouses identify the issues.These issues include make decisions with respect to the custody of children, who decides issues concerning the children (like education, religion, medical), visitation schedule, support for children, spousal support, property division, property equalization and more.
2. Next the spouses will exchange financial information (as of the date of marriage, the date of separation and current. This includes disclosure of Income, assets and liabilities.
3. Negotiation takes place.
4. An agreement is made and will have to be put in writing. This can cost upwards of $2,000 using a lawyer, but you can save money by creating divorce forms online at My Ontario Divorce.
5. Each spouse will have to get independent legal advice. This involves each spouse meeting with a lawyer to review the agreement. After independent legal advice is completed, the independent legal advice lawyer will issue a certificate.
6. Both spouses sign the agreement and it is very important that you store the agreement in a safe place.
7. Optional: If the agreement involves child support, the agreement can be filed with the Ontario Family Responsibility Office if you want them to collect spousal and child support for you instead of getting paid by the payor directly. This can always be done later if the payor defaults.
If you are thinking about, or are involved in a separation you can find more information about separation and divorce in Ontario at www.bermanbarristers.com or www.myontariodivorce.com.