Everybody knows separating from your partner can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be a legal nightmare. By following these simple steps, you can create an effective separation agreement that will protect your interests. Here are the basics of what needs to be in a separation agreement:

What is a separation agreement?

Separation agreements are the predominant way to clarify the rights and responsibilities of two people who are ending their relationship. A written agreement can help to prevent any misunderstandings or conflicts during the separation process. If you are considering entering into an agreement, it’s essential to speak with a family law lawyer first. They can help you to create the agreement and can provide advice on all legal issues that may arise during the negotiation process. They can help avoid unnecessary disputes caused by omissions and other pitfalls commonly encountered when couples create and sign agreements without appropriate legal consultation.

A separation agreement is a legal contract between spouses or partners specifying the terms of their separation. Separation agreements can include provisions for child custody, support, property division, and other financial arrangements. An agreement doesn’t always need to be a signed document. Under family law in most Canadian jurisdictions, spouses have the legal right to uphold informal agreements that arise from the routines of daily living. Family law principles support resolving marital disputes through negotiation rather than court proceedings.

A written separation agreement can be helpful if you and your spouse are disagreeing about how to handle your divorce or separation.

When should you prepare a separation agreement?

Separation agreements can be a valuable tool in preventing damage to relationships during a divorce by providing a roadmap of predictability. They can help to outline critical agreements between the couple, such as child custody (guardianship responsibility and contact time) support payments, and property division. Such an agreement can greatly reduce the stress and anguish felt by grandparents and other relatives who are emotionally – and even financially – invested in the success of the relationship long term so it’s best to start working on an agreement as soon as it’s clear the relationship will end. There will be some situations where the separation agreement between the couple may require some consideration of other family members, particularly where grandparents have financed the couples’ home, or contact time with children seems contentious. Because the dynamics amongst extended family members can create extenuating controversy, it’s important to reach an agreement as early as possible as a preventative measure.

It’s important to have both parties understand and agree on all key points before signing anything. This will help to prevent any potentially expensive misunderstandings or conflicts down the road. It’s also important to make sure that the date of marriage and the date of separation is outlined in the agreement, as well as any arrangements that may arise after the separation date. For example, if you and your spouse share parenting responsibilities, this would be part of the separation agreement.

A separation agreement is the legal document that outlines the terms of separation between couples. A separation agreement can include provisions related to property division, child support and spousal support (alimony) and many other issues.

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What should be included?

Getting a separation agreement is never a fun process, but it’s important to do it right. Here are the basics of what should be included in a separation agreement:

-financial matters such as child support, spousal support

-asset and debt division

-child custody


-contact time

-any other issues that may arise.

Make sure to get legal representation if you’re planning on signing a written agreement – this will help make the process easier, ensure you comprehend the finer nuances and long term consequences and ensure that everything is properly documented. Finally, make sure to keep the agreement clear and concise so that there are no misunderstandings down the road.

How to create an effective separation agreement

Separation agreements can be a tricky thing to negotiate, especially if you and your spouse don’t have all the same priorities. That’s why it’s important to enlist the help of a lawyer. A lawyer can help you create an effective separation agreement that meets your specific needs and protects your interests in the long term. A lawyer can help you address any legal issues that come up during the separation process with regard to the full disclosure of financial information. Asset and debt division can be complicated so, if you’re planning on formalizing a separation agreement, consult with a family law lawyer to make sure everything is fair and legal. It’s very difficult and expensive to re-address a faulty separation agreement, so legal advice is essential.

A separation agreement can take the form of a written, signed (and often filed) legal document that helps a couple avoid litigation after separating. A formal agreement should cover the main important issues and exist in triplicate; one to be referenced easily by each party, with an extra signed and witnessed copy for safe keeping. Generally, separation agreements are confidential. It’s also important to remember that when children are involved, separation agreements don’t end the relationship between the couple. They may rather act as a roadmap to help them manage their legal and financial responsibilities after they’ve separated.

Separation Agreement

Tips for negotiating

– Always take the time to discuss your concerns and intentions ahead of time. This will help avoid any misunderstandings or hard feelings during the negotiation process.

-Prioritize. You can’t have it all, and you’ll bankrupt yourself by trying. Be clear about what you want from the agreement. Don’t hesitate to spell out exactly how you expect things to work between you and your spouse.

-Understand that any legally compliant arrangement included in a separation agreement is binding on both parties, similar to a court order. If one party doesn’t follow through with their part of the agreement, they may be held accountable in court.

-Remember that a separation agreement isn’t a divorce decree.

– Be prepared to negotiate in good faith. Try to resist laying blame, or dredging up past misdeeds. You will save a small fortune by remaining calm and willing to compromise. If you can’t agree on all the details of the agreement, try to come up with a compromise that works for both of you.

Reaching a separation agreement can be a difficult destination to arrive at, but with the right tips and advice, it can be a much smoother ride. Always keep in mind the purposes of a separation agreement – it should help to amicably resolve any disputes between you and your spouse. When negotiating, try to come up with an agreement that both sides can accept. Make sure all important issues are covered and be prepared to compromise on some points. If negotiations still fail to produce results, mediation or arbitration can be a good option.


By following the basics outlined in this blog, you will be well-equipped to write a separation agreement that is both fair and effective. Make sure to include all the key points that are important to you in the agreement, and be prepared to negotiate until both parties are satisfied. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to book a consultation with one of our team. We focus exclusively on Family Law in British Columbia, with decades of experience in negotiation, mediation and litigation.

At Fleetwood Family Law, we understand the importance of family law proceedings and will work diligently to ensure that you are able to get the best possible outcome for your case.