Family Law Separation Agreements
The orderly winding up of a relationship is accomplished by the negotiation of Separation Agreements: a roadmap designed and negotiated by spouses, partners, and parents looking to the future for the best interests of the family. Comprehensive Separation Agreements entrench each party’s respective rights they are entitled to receive from and obligations they may owe to the other. Timelines triggering and concluding these obligations bring certainty and clarity to the provisions. These terms may describe a single event or many events unfolding over time.
Family Separation Agreements include statements relating to the division of property , child-focused parenting arrangements, and all matters relating to child and spousal support. Included in the document may be ancillary matters dealing with the estate of a spouse, which special expenses will be included in child support, an issue dispute resolution plan, or the inclusion of special advisors to assist the parties in complicated matters.
Separation Agreements are one type of Domestic Contracts, the umbrella term for a restricted list of specialty family law contracts. To be enforceable, the Separation Agreement must meet formal requirements. These requirements include:
- The contract must be in writing
- Each party must sign before a witness
- The witnesses must also add their signatures to the document, and
- The date when the last signatory signed must be indicated
Domestic Contracts also include cohabitation agreements, marriage contracts, paternity agreements, and family arbitration agreements.
Subsequent or Amending Agreements
As time passes, the parent/child relationships evolve. These changes will impact parental roles, financial support, time spent together and decision-making responsibilities. Separation Agreements should be formally amended to reflect these significant changes and any other event which impacts on the original terms of the Agreement.
Spouses and partners negotiate family Separation Agreements with an eye to what the courts would order in similar circumstances. Relying or reflecting upon how judges have decided related matters, family law lawyers can guide and advise their clients on a range of matters when negotiating the breakdown of their relationship.
Exchange of Full Financial Disclosure
To negotiate from a position of knowledge and confidence there must be comprehensive financial disclosure exchanged between the parties before the economic implications of any decision can be properly assessed. Requests to provide proper values of all assets, debts, and liabilities must be answered to the satisfaction of the requesting client. Documentation supporting the financial disclosure is provided, understood, and validated before any contract is signed. A proper valuation is the responsibility of the owner of the asset or business.