If you are trying to understand how to break up from your long-term partner or spouse, you may be trying to figure out how to become “legally separated”. Under Alberta’s family law, couples who have lived separate and apart for at least one year are considered legally separated. “Separate and apart” could mean anything from one person moving to another city, province, or as simple as they move to another part of the current home like the basement. This however has important stipulations.
A separation agreement details your rights and responsibilities regarding the division of your property, any debts, child access and custody and, financial support from your former partner if any is agreed upon.
In short, a separation agreement is your legal guarantee that the decisions you two made when ending your relationship can be enforced if you file with the Court.
How Is Separation Different From Divorce?
Only married people can get divorced under the law. Common law couples who separate do not require a court order to signify that the parties are separated. Common law couples may still require a court order or separation agreement to resolve issues of parenting time, division of assets and support. Married couples may also negotiate a separation agreement, since they must live separate and apart for at least one year before filing for divorce.
You also do not need to go to Court to get a separation agreement, though you may file your agreement with the Court to ensure that it is enforceable. Many families end up negotiating the terms of their separation through alternative dispute processes like mediation or collaborative law. Of course, high-conflict cases may require Court intervention, but these are generally rare.
Protect Your Future Stability By Laying The Right Foundation
At Phillips Manucci, we know the decisions you make right now will significantly impact your future. Our lawyers will seek family law resolutions that protect what matters most to you. This, of course, will depend on your unique circumstances and goals, but in general includes:
- Protecting fair access to and time with your children, if applicable
- Seeking an equitable share of the wealth and assets built during the relationship
- Protecting personal investments or any other property covered by a cohabitation or marriage agreement as well as any inheritances
- Ensuring that any debt you and your spouse possess is divided fairly
- Spousal support (even as a common law partner) or negotiate to minimizing support obligations you may have
Your Advocate Now And For Life
With the right preparation and representation hopefully, you will never have to enforce the agreements you make today. If you need to renegotiate an current agreement, we have extensive experience to help advocate your side. If you need an help resolving your family legal issues, contact us today by 780 250 2245. We will give you our full attention, compassion and respect.