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What if my partner and I agree on what to do after we separate or divorce?

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What if my partner and I agree on what to do after we separate or divorce?
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CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)
Ministry of the Attorney General
Law Society of Ontario

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What if my partner and I agree on what to do after we separate or divorce?
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Reviewed: 
July 15, 2019
Answer

If you and your partner agree on your family law issues, you can put what you've agreed on in a separation agreement. This is a written contract that you and your partner make.

You can make a separation agreement if you're married or in a common-law relationship.

There are some good reasons to make a written separation agreement:

  • It can be faster, cheaper, and less stressful than going to court.
  • It lets you and your partner decide what works best for you and your family.
  • It lets others involved in your children's care, such as their school, daycare, and doctor, know what has been agreed on.
  • It's easier to prove what you and your partner agreed on if you have a written rather than a verbal agreement.
  • If there is a problem getting child support or spousal support, the Family Responsibility Office can help.
  • Monthly spousal support cannot be tax deductible without a separation agreement or court order.

If you're married, you don't get a divorce by signing a separation agreement. To legally divorce and end your marriage, you must apply for a divorce order from the court. But you can agree on when and how to get a divorce in your separation agreement.

When to make a separation agreement

You can make a separation agreement at any time after you separate. But there are time limits for making certain claims. For example, you have 6 years from the date of separation but only 2 years from the date of your divorce to make a claim for dividing property.

You don't have to wait until you and your partner agree on everything before making a separation agreement. You can make an agreement on the things you agree on, while working on other issues.

You can also change a separation agreement at any time by making a new one, if both you and your partner agree to the changes.

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