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Marriage and Cohabitation Contracts

Cohabitation and marriage change your legal status in many important ways. Provincial and federal legislation and case law impose legal rights and obligations regarding spousal support, property, estates, pensions, and income tax. These legal rights and obligations take effect at different times: during the relationship, on separation, and on death.

Before changing your spousal status, it’s wise to consult with a lawyer to understand the legal impact. Often, the conventional legal result will be suitable.  But like clothing, “one size” does not fit all. If you would like a custom tailored legal arrangement, the answer is to have a cohabitation or marriage agreement prepared by a lawyer.

Separation Process Options

The most important decision in any separation is choosing the right resolution process. A separation is both an ending and a beginning. It’s essential to choose the best way forward so that you have a smoother transition into the next stage of your life.

Court should always be the process of last resort. There is a high cost to litigation: both financial and emotional. After litigation, many parties are unable to re-establish positive parenting relationships which severely compromises the welfare of their children. In addition, studies are conclusive that children frequently suffer long lasting emotional and psychological problems if their parents engage in a court battles.

There are many other advantages to an out of court resolution. The spouses are in charge, rather than a judge. You customize your own solution, so you can be more creative than a court and are more likely to be satisfied with the outcome.  It’s private, so details are out of the public record.

At Beesley Gahrns, after learning about your unique situation and what matters most to you, we’ll recommend the best separation process option for you. And, we’ll assist you with the negotiation process so that you obtain the best result.

There are several process options for reaching an out of court resolution in the form of an binding Separation Agreement:

Creating a Separation Agreement

The Separation Agreement is the binding contract that sets out the spouse’s resolution in detail. It addresses issues such as parenting, child support, spousal support, property division, pensions, estates, and income tax. A Separation Agreement as the same effect as a court order. It will govern the future life of the spouses and their children. It can only be changed by further agreement of the spouse or a court order. As a result, it’s essential to use the services of a lawyer so that the Agreement is comprehensive and correctly drafted.

In order to negotiate a Separation Agreement, the spouses’ interests and concerns should first be identified. Then, the spouse’s financial information should be exchanged. Without financial disclosure, it’s impossible to bargain fairly, and the Agreement could be later set aside by a court. Legal advice should be obtained so that the implications of various settlement options are fully understood. Only then should you start negotiating. Otherwise, you’ll be bargaining blind.

A court could also set aside a Separation Agreement if it grossly deviates from the objectives of the applicable family law legislation. You can avoid this pitfall by obtaining legal advice.

Divorce Process

A divorce is a court order which ends a marriage. The primary legal reason to obtain a divorce is if you want to remarry. However, many people decide to obtain a divorce simply for emotional closure.

Before you apply for a divorce, it is wise to first complete and property execute a Separation Agreement. That way, the divorce can be done on an uncontested basis without reference to other issues such as parenting, support, property division, and estates.

An original copy of your marriage certificate must be filed with the divorce application at the court. If you don’t have an original copy, you can obtain one by applying on line to the provincial government.

How To Apply For A Divorce

Application for Ontario Marriage Certificate

Real Estate Transactions

The Agreement of Purchase and Sale is a binding contract that sets out the buyer’s and seller’s obligations. It can only be changed after signing if both parties agree. Because the Agreement governs the entire transaction, it’s prudent to have your lawyer review it before signing.

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