What is the Process of Separation?

As a divorce lawyer, the question that I am most frequently asked by my London, Ontario clients is “What should I expect in the process of Separation?” (I answered the question “How do I get Separated?” here…)

How do I get a Legal Separation?

To understand the process of separation, it helps to understand that marriage is an economic partnership. When two people marry they become an economically interdependent unit. This is true even if you never shared a bank account. (It’s also true if only one spouse owns the matrimonial home.)

Separation Agreement 

The process of separation untangles the economic partnership with your spouse. The goal of the process of separation is to negotiate a Separation Agreement that will govern your affairs as married people living separate and apart.

The issues that are usually addressed in a Separation Agreement include spousal support, child support, access and custody of children, and equalization of property. 

Financial Disclosure

The process of negotiating a separation agreement begins with the exchange of financial information between the spouses. Each spouse is required to disclose their complete financial picture, including all of their assets, liabilities, and sources of income. From there, your divorce lawyer will assist you in evaluating your spouse’s disclosure for accuracy and sufficiency. 

Equalization of Family Property

Once the assets and liabilities are disclosed, each spouse’s total net family property is calculated. Since spouses are required to equalize their net family property, the difference between the net family properties of the spouses is divided between them. (This is achieved by subtracting the total net family property of the lower spouse from the total of the higher spouse and divided by two. Note: There are exceptions to this very general explanation.)


Photo by Fred Moon on Unsplash

Your divorce lawyer can negotiate the terms of your separation agreement directly with your spouse’s lawyer or you may choose to arrange a face-to-face meeting with your spouse and her lawyer. Some circumstances are better suited for mediation before a neutral third-party mediator. 

Secure your Future After Divorce

Many of the disputes that wind up in litigation are rooted in problems that can be traced back to decisions that were made immediately after separation.

One of the most important steps you can take to secure your future after divorce is to have a professionally drafted separation agreement. If you are looking for a London property division lawyer to help you with family law matters, reach out. We can help.

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