Taking legal action to end your marriage is never easy, but some representations of divorce in TV, film, and the news do not provide an accurate picture of how the process can work when there are no cameras around. In a real-life situation, it is often possible to work out the details regarding divorce via compromise. The Ontario Family Law Act includes a provision directed at exactly this type of scenario, allowing couples to enter into a separation agreement regarding their respective rights and obligations.
However, even when you can settle on the key issues in divorce, you should not assume that you can adequately represent yourself. There are multiple strategies for working out a compromise, and not all of them will work to resolve all divorce issues. Despite the spirit of agreement, it is still necessary to retain an Ontario, ON separation agreements lawyer to protect your interests. To understand how the process works, a summary may be useful.
Issues You Can Resolve by Agreement: Almost without limitation, spouses can enter into an agreement regarding any matter that touches upon the divorce process. Of course, a compromise is not suitable in some situations, such as in the presence of domestic violence or abuse. When appropriate, parties can work out a separation agreement regarding:
- Whether certain assets should be considered marital or separate property;
- How to divide marital assets and any items acquired during the marriage;
- Spousal support, familiarly known as alimony;
- Distribution of pensions and retirement income; and,
- How to handle health benefits and insurance.
In addition, divorcing couples can also resolve issues related to minor children through an agreement. Parents can include provisions regarding decision-making responsibilities and parenting time, previously known as child custody and access. You may also compromise on child support, special expenditures, and extra costs related to raising your child.
Legal Options in the Divorce Process: The concept of making a settlement agreement related to divorce might seem straightforward, but there can be challenges in reaching an accord on all details. Throughout a divorce proceeding, you may be involved with one or more of the following alternatives for resolving issues:
- Negotiations: Informal discussions are often the start to a more in-depth negotiation process on property division, alimony, and matters involving children. Even when the parties are unsuccessful in working out compromise, they can often work out an arrangement through their respective lawyers.
- Mediation: Through this process, divorcing spouses can often resolve disputes through input from a trained mediator. The mediation professional is trained to guide the parties through conversations about divorce topics, helping them reach common ground. Through mediation, you can enter into a separation agreement and avoid a court hearing.
- Court Proceedings: If one or many disputes remain after attempts to resolve divorce by agreement, it may be necessary to have a judge decide. However, if you have worked out some settlement agreement details through negotiations or mediation as described above, the court will only need to make a determination on those topics – saving the parties time, money, and stress.
Our Ontario, ON Separation Agreements Lawyer Can Assist with Divorce Options
This overview may be helpful in providing some of the basics about divorce-related agreements, but it should also demonstrate how important it is to work with a skilled lawyer at all stages of the process. Our team at the Carmichael Law Professional Corporation will tackle the essential legal tasks, so you can feel confident your case is in good hands. To learn more about our services to clients throughout the Durham Region, please contact our offices in Oshawa, Ontario to set up a consultation.