Legal Separation Agreement

A legal separation agreement protects your rights if you divorce and tells the court you plan to split and probably not get back together again. Axess Law family lawyers review domestic contracts and inform you of legal rights and obligations during marriage breakup or separation, including who gets the ring.

Legal Separation Agreements in Ontario

Separation agreements in Ontario are legally binding, enforceable contracts to do specific things you both agree on. They resolve family law matters without legally ending a marriage, giving you time to rethink your decision before your divorce or split up, without the formalities of divorcing. An Ontario divorce order from a family court judge is the final step in ending your marriage.

Separation agreements are valid legal agreements, therefore, family courts have pre-existing rules over how they are made. You or your spouse (or partner) can be ordered to comply with an agreement or go to mediation or arbitration to settle differences. If you get along well, you can keep the arrangements informal and not divorce. You can even have a trial separation and get back together (within 90 days) without affecting your divorce rights.

How It Works

01

Book Your Appointment

Click on ‘Get Started’ to submit your details. Our client care team will contact you shortly to schedule your appointment with the lawyer

02

Meet With The Lawyer

Axess Law gives you legal advice as your case requires. Family lawyers can meet you in person or online, at your convenience.

03

Review Documents

Our family lawyers file legal documents or answer court questions. We help you navigate through your domestic legal issue with ease.

Documents We Need

Whether you are seeking independent advice on what options you have or need guidance on family law needs, Axess Law’s legal services make getting legal advice a simple task. Bring the following for your online video conference (anywhere in Ontario) or in-person meeting at our Greater Toronto Area law offices:

Axess Law will ask you for two pieces of ID. Proving your identity is obligatory to prevent fraud. You may use either two pieces of primary ID or one primary and one secondary ID These include:

  • Driver’s license
  • Canadian passport
  • Ontario photo card
  • Canadian citizenship card with photo
  • PR card with photo
If you and your spouse signed a cohabitation, prenuptial, or marriage contract, carry them to your appointment for your lawyer to review.
Axess Law suggests carrying a statement of proof of personal properties and assets owned to your appointment for your lawyer to review.
Draft a parenting plan agreeing to parent time and decision-making responsibility for minor or dependant children with your spouse. This would also include how you will support your children financially, including expenses like extracurricular activities.
Include a summary of incomes, assets, and debts that will be spent towards your child’s education, cost of living, and more if you plan to apply for child or spousal support.

Separation Agreements and Your Children

You can determine custody and access, now called decision-making responsibility and parenting times under changes to Canada’s Divorce Act, in advance of moving out or after you separate. Your choices can be confirmed in a consent order from an Ontario family court. Family court judges consider how well you get along with your children, your parenting abilities, well-being, the time you can devote to caregiving, and the support you have from others, such as grandparents or relatives.

The Office of the Children’s Lawyer may be appointed to find out what your children’s wishes are if they are 12 or over. Courts tend to keep siblings together but may respect a child’s desire to live with a specific parent.

Applying for Decision-making Responsibility

Your post-separation relationship with your children will be decided by a family court judge. You can request:

Joint Legal Custody
Family courts prefer parents use mediation or parenting coordinators to solve disputes. When you can get along well enough to share decision making and parenting time, request joint legal custody.

Shared or Joint Physical Custody
If your children would prefer to spend at least 40% of their time with each of you, ask for shared or joint physical custody.

Split Custody
Family court judges may agree to split custody if some children want to live with you and others with your spouse.

Sole or Full Custody
Sole or full custody can be appropriate if you or your spouse are less involved in parenting. Custodial parents are obligated to tell spouses about important decisions, like medical care or educational choices, but have full decision-making responsibility for the children.

Give your proposed parenting plan careful thought. Your parenting time with your children depends on it.

Types of Separation Agreements

Your separation can be as structured as you desire. It can be one of the following 5 types:

Informal, verbal, or in writing

A written signed and witnessed document

Arranged through an Ontario family lawyer, mediator, or arbitrator

Made with help from a collaborative law lawyer

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Convenient Appointments

Axess Law gives you the choice of booking an online or in-person appointment. Our lawyers are available 7 days a week, at times convenient for you. We can meet in person, by phone, email, or via a remote video call. In addition to these, there are 5 Axess Law offices located across the Greater Toronto Area – all with onsite parking or easily accessible by public transit.

Some FAQs

Notary publics can offer some legal services, such as taking affidavits for the court, witnessing legal documents you sign, or making certified true copies of documents for legal purposes. Only lawyers licensed by the Law Society of Ontario can offer legal advice on interpreting the law or represent you in court.
Courts, tribunals, banks, or law firms often ask for Independent Legal Advice certificates to confirm a lawyer not involved in a legal or financial transaction has explained Canadian or provincial laws to you and you are not being unduly influenced or coerced to participate. Axess Law helps you meet your legal obligations to third parties.
Ontario courts have ruled that not seeking independent legal advice is no reason to overturn a legally signed agreement. You are expected to safeguard your own interests by taking steps to understand what you are signing before you commit to legally binding contracts such as mediation agreements. Even if you felt coerced at the time, that may not be enough to convince a court. Before you waive legal rights you may regret later, ask Axess Law for an ILA certificate.
Yes, you can change the terms at any time or amend separation agreements during divorce proceedings. Property division or spousal support decisions you make now can be revised in divorce court or whenever you choose. You can make some decisions right away and delay making others.

Common law couples have different rights than legally married spouses, but can still make separation agreements. Common law spouses leave relationships with what they brought to it, such as a home you own or investments. You can divide property acquired together any way you choose. For example, you can agree to make joint investments in exchange for giving up a shared vehicle you bought together. You may be entitled to a child or spousal support and a share of your partner’s work or government pensions or survivor benefits. As long as your separation agreement is fair, a court will typically consent to it.

Axess Law family lawyers review domestic contracts and inform you of legal rights and obligations during marriage breakup or separation, including who gets the ring. We advise you on how to avoid problems that could impact divorce applications. Compared to using a downloadable or store-bought separation agreement template in Ontario, there is no substitute for family law advice from an Axess Law Ontario attorney.

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