What is a separation agreement?

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If you have a cohabitation agreement in place with your common law partner, this agreement probably already deals with what will happen if you and your partner separate. If you do not have a cohabitation agreement, though, you can make a separation agreement when you separate from your partner.

A separation agreement is a written contract between you and your partner to live apart on certain terms and conditions. A separation agreement usually includes sections on parenting arrangements, support issues, and the division of property, assets, and debts. Like cohabitation agreements, separation agreements are usually written by lawyers. Both you and your partner should get independent legal advice to make sure the agreement is right for you. Separation agreements are sometimes called 'Minutes of Settlement.'

You are not required to get a separation agreement. If you do get one, you may be able to apply to the court to ask for it to be registered in certain situations. When a separation agreement is registered with the court, this makes it a court order, and it may be able to be enforced like a court order.

It is strongly recommended that you see a Nova Scotia family law lawyer to write your separation agreement. You may see example separation agreements on the Internet, or store-bought kits for writing your own agreement. Be very careful about using templates that you find online, or kits that you buy in a store. There is no organization that checks to make sure that these templates or kits are accurate, or that they are in a format that will be accepted by the courts in Nova Scotia. The only way to know that the agreement you are using is in the right format is to check with a family law lawyer, preferably one that works in Nova Scotia.

Be careful of hiring an online company to do your separation agreement. These companies are not regulated, and there is no guarantee that they are using the right form or completing it properly. To make sure that you are using the right form, always speak with a family law lawyer.

FAQ page: 
Common Law Separation