Why You Should Consult a Lawyer to Draft Your Separation Agreement
BC separation agreements entered into by spouses or common law partners will have significant, lasting consequences, shaping the most important aspects of their future lives. The terms of a well-drafted separation agreement can create structure for separating spouses by setting out rights and obligations with respect to all family law issues, including financial support, property division, and parenting arrangements. Given the importance of what is at stake, separating spouses should consider getting advice from an experienced family lawyer. Here are some of the top reasons why you should consult an experienced BC family lawyer to draft your separation agreement.
Top Reasons to Consult a Lawyer to Draft Your Separation Agreement
1. It is difficult to communicate with your ex
The end of a relationship is an incredibly stressful period of time. Emotions run high and communication is often very strained. In some cases, there is abuse in the relationship that makes direct communication between the spouses inadvisable or impossible. When you are represented by a lawyer, the lawyer will handle direct communications, keeping power balances in check and ensuring that cooler heads prevail.
2. Family law is complex
BC separation agreements can address complicated matters such as property distribution, debt, pensions, life insurance, medical and dental benefits, spousal support, child support, and parenting arrangements (custody and access). An experienced family lawyer can identify legal issues, help you understand your rights and obligations, and ensure that nothing is overlooked.
3. You want a separation agreement that is fair
In addition to protecting your rights and advising you on what is fair in accordance with BC family law, a divorce lawyer can help ensure the fairness of your separation agreement by obtaining full disclosure of your spouse’s income, assets, debts, and other liabilities. In turn, your lawyer can advise you on what information you are required to disclose to your spouse. Full disclosure can help prevent unfair bargains and take the air out of later claims that the agreement should be overturned because your spouse did not receive important information.
4. You want a separation agreement that is enforceable
If a dispute arises in the future, you want to ensure that the agreement stands up in court. A separation agreement can be set aside by the courts if it was not made in accordance with BC family law or if it was based on incomplete financial disclosure. What is more, BC separation agreements made without “independent legal advice” may also be overturned on the basis that a party to the contract did not understand their rights or the nature or consequences of what they agreed to.
5. Online templates and DIY toolkits are risky
Some are reluctant to consult with a divorce lawyer and assume that they can save time and expense by using an online template or “do it yourself” kit. These “one-size-fits-all” templates are overly simplistic and not worth it in the long run. Your separation agreement should be tailored to the unique your needs and the needs of your family. If you do not have legal advice, important issues may be overlooked, you may inadvertently sign away your rights, or expose yourself to liability. There are numerous BC family court decisions where one spouse challenges a separation agreement made using an online template or do-it-yourself toolkit. What seemed like a quick and cheap solution ends up leading to great uncertainty and expensive litigation.
If an agreement is significantly unfair, if it is too one-sided, if one party took advantage of the other, or there has not been disclosure of all assets, an agreement can be set aside by the court. There is no point in spending a huge amount of time, money and effort in negotiating an agreement if it is unenforceable. It takes a lawyer’s eye to spot these nuances.
If You Need a Separation Agreement, BC Lawyers at Our Firm Are Here to Help
When a marriage or common-law relationship ends, a separation agreement can provide peace of mind and the comfort of knowing that your family law issues have been settled on your own terms. That being said, the process of separation and divorce can be emotionally difficult, and you will likely need the services of a qualified family lawyer. Prince George’s Dick Byl Law Corporation provides trusted legal advice and handles all aspects of family law. We offer flexible legal consultation, customized solutions and work diligently to ensure that our clients receive a fair outcome. Call us today at 250-564-3400 or toll-free at 1-800-835-0088 or use our eForm to get in touch with our Prince George lawyers.