Separation agreement registrations are done under section 52 of the Parenting and Support Act.
Not all separation agreements may be registered with the court. For example, if you already have a court order dealing with the issues that are set out in the separation agreement, then the separation agreement cannot be registered. To be clear, if there has already been a court order issued under the Parenting and Support Act or Divorce Act, a separation agreement CANNOT be registered with the court.
Either person may apply to register a separation agreement between the parties relating to parenting arrangements (custody and access, parenting time, contact time, or interaction) and child support or spousal support - you do not need the consent of both people to apply to register the separation agreement. Registration allows the separation agreement to be enforced as a court order.
If you want the Maintenance Enforcement Program (MEP) to enforce child support or spousal support amounts in a separation agreement, the agreement must be registered with the court first.
Judges have the right to not register an agreement. Judges are also required by law – under the Child Support Guidelines - to make sure that any child support amounts in the agreement are appropriate, and that children are receiving the right amount of support based on the situation. This is why income information for one or both people, depending on the situation, must be filed with the application to register the separation agreement. Please see the checklist below for what may need to be filed in your situation. Court officers or judges may ask you or the other person to provide further information than what is listed below. A court officer will advise you if this applies to your situation.
NOTE: if you and the other party have minor children (under the age of 19) OR have children who are over 19 but are still ‘dependent’ (in school, or are unable to support themselves because of a disability, for example) one or both of you must file financial information with the application to register a separation agreement.
You may also have to file your child’s financial information, if they are over 19. The Child Support Guidelines provide rules that the court must follow when dealing with child support. Even though you and your ex-partner may have worked out a child support amount in your separation agreement, the judge reviewing your application has to make sure that the amount is appropriate, at the time you make your application, according to the Guidelines.
The financial information you have to file will depend on what your agreement deals with, and your income situation, or the income situation of the other party. Check with court staff as to what you will need to file.
In order to be registered, the agreement must be a written agreement between the parties – like a ‘Separation Agreement’, ‘Minutes of Settlement’ or 'Parenting Plan' - that has been signed by both parties and witnessed. It is best if the agreement is typed. The judge may not accept a handwritten separation agreement for registration.
You must submit an original signed version of the separation agreement with the application, plus 3 additional photocopies of the separation agreement.
If the court registers the separation agreement, you and the other person will each receive a certified (‘official’) copy of the separation agreement which will be stamped and signed to confirm that it has been registered. The court will send this to you.
The court will also send a copy of the registered separation agreement to the Maintenance Enforcement Program, if the separation agreement deals with child support or spousal support. The Maintenance Enforcement Program will contact you about enrolling in their program. This is not done through the court.
For more information about separation for common law couples, click here.
For more information about separation for married couples, click here.