Separation and Separation Agreements in Alberta
How is separation defined in Alberta?
Whether a couple is married or involved in an inter-dependant relationship and that relationship ends – they are considered separated in Alberta. When a couple is considered separated for a year or more – that is typically enough grounds for divorce. Couples can also end their relationship in the form of a separation agreement which is a contractual agreement between both parties that outlines the terms of their separation prior to divorcing.
What does a Separation Agreement contain?
A separation agreement will outline a framework for contentious issues such as:
- Child custody and child support
- Spousal support
- How property will be divided accordingly including both financial and physical assets
- How debts will be divided for repayment
- How will legal fees for the proceedings be paid
Separation agreements will be signed by both parties and it is recommended that both parties hire a divorce lawyer for this process to ensure the rights of both parties are protected.
Valuation of Assets
With respect to assets - a lawyer would recommend that the assets get a valuation done by a third-party expert. A separation agreement may also contain details of who will assess the value of the assets. Financial assets may include but are not limited to things like pension plans, insurance policies, tax refunds, financial investments, stock and bonds, trusts, GICs, profit sharing plans, bank accounts (both joint and individual) and possibly more. Physical assets may include things like pets, tools, vehicles, real estate that includes primary homes, cottages and real estate investments. Other things include jewellery, artwork, inheritances, furniture and more.
Allocation of Debts and Outstanding Payments
Another thing that a separation agreement should outline is who is responsible for paying existing debts and loans. This part is very important and generally a very contentious point in the divorce process so hiring a lawyer or a mediator to handle this part can be helpful.
Disclosure of Financial Information
During a separation or divorce proceedings - both parties are obligated to disclose their financial information including tax returns, bank account statements, credit card statements, property assessment notices, pay stubs, corporate financial statements and more. Hiding any of this information is against the law and can result in criminal charges being laid if you knowingly hold back any of this information during your proceedings. We recommend you hire a lawyer if you are about to commence a separation or divorce proceedings.
Contact our Edmonton divorce lawyers for legal assistance on separation and separation agreements
Our Edmonton divorce lawyers are qualified to provide you legal advice on separation and separation agreements. We have provided legal advice to thousands of Albertans on separation matters. With 3 offices in the Edmonton area - we are committed to making access to justice easier for our local community. Please contact our law firm today to schedule a consultation with our legal team if you are contemplating separation or a divorce. Book your consultation here or call us at 587-410-2500 now.
Disclaimer: Please note the advice in this article is not to be substituted for legal advice as it pertains to your unique situation. For legal advice please consult with an Edmonton divorce lawyer from Verhaeghe Law Office as every situation is different from one another.