The Legal Separation Process

A legal separation occurs when two individuals who have been living together, either as a married or common-law couple, decide to live apart. This does not always necessarily equate to the end of the relationship, nor does it end the marriage. In contrast, a divorce occurs when a court officially ends a marriage. To legally separate, you do not have to go through a formal process or obtain any documents, but there is a formal process in place if you are married and wish to get a divorce. Separation is an evolving process that can take place over several months.

A separation lawyer is someone who has expertise in family law. They can help you deal with issues like custody and access, alimony payments or child support obligations after-the divorce becomes final (which may not happen until there are children involved).



Criteria for Legal Separation

In order to legally separate from your partner, you only have to want to live “separate and apart” from your partner. Only one of you can want this in order for you to legally separate. “Living separate and apart” would involve:

1. Deciding that you want to end your marriage or common-law relationship; AND

2. Starting to behave in a way that demonstrates that you want to end the relationship.

When determining whether spouses are indeed living “separate and apart”, the courts look at factors such as whether the parties:

– Share a bedroom

– Have sexual relations

– Prepare and eat meals together

– Share household duties and chores

– Attend social events together, as a couple, etc.

If you are dealing with a separation, then an experienced Separation lawyer is the perfect choice for your case. This individual will know all of the ins and outs so that they can represent their client’s interests as best possible!



Parties may choose to live in separate homes

However, this is not necessary in order to be legally separated. It is indeed possible to live “separate and apart” in the same house in Ontario, and still be separated. This is not uncommon, as many spouses are unable to move out due to childcare requirements, housing needs and financial circumstances. Generally speaking, it is not recommended that either party leave the house before issues surrounding the separation are settled. This is because the party who leaves may be relinquishing their rights to claims made later on, such as exclusive possession of the matrimonial home or custody of children. However, this is dependent on the specific case – where there may be tension between parties; financial difficulties; or there are cases of partner abuse, one party moving out may be preferred.



Legal Separation Agreements

In the event that you are going through a separation, it is important to address all aspects of your relationship with domestic violence. These can include factors like child support and spousal/partner support payments for various periods after leaving each other’s sides. In cases where there is agreement on such issues, you and your partner should create a written legal separation agreement. This agreement would allow the couple to live separate and apart without legally ending their marriage.

You may prepare this agreement on your own, or have a lawyer prepare one for you. The latter is recommended, as it would allow parties to receive independent legal advice and comprehend the terms

before signing the separation agreement. Where there is disagreement in addressing issues, you may ask a professional family lawyer in Mississauga to help or ask the court to decide.



Applying for Divorce after Separation

If you are claiming marriage breakdown due to cruelty or adultery, you can apply for divorce at any time. If you apply for a divorce on the grounds of one-year separation, you are able to live together again for up to 90 days in efforts of reconciliation.

A divorce is a legal separation that will affect the division of property as well as the granting of divorce. Often, couples remain separated for years and only go through a divorce if and when one of them chooses to remarry. In cases where there are children of the marriage, the courts will generally only grant a divorce when they are satisfied that there have been reasonable arrangements made for child support.

We highly discourage anyone from seeking out legal advice through this article. This article only provides general information and should you have any further questions regarding the legal separation process, please contact us to book a free initial consultation 905-366-0202 or through our website here. Looking for a legal separation lawyer? You’ve come to the right place! Tailor Law’s team of Mississauga divorce lawyers can help you find someone who will suit your needs and budget. 

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