Types of Agreements
If you are planning on moving in with someone, you may want to consider creating an agreement which includes how you will share your ongoing expenses, and how you will treat your property if you separate at some point in the future. This is a good idea if one or both of you own a house or cottage already, or have children. Although basic law does not require you to share your property if you aren’t married, there are some exceptions to this, for example, if one of you ends up staying home to look after children, or spends a lot of time or money fixing up the house or cottage. Also, if you already have children from another relationship, it is a good idea to protect the assets you have. If you are going to purchase a home with someone, there are different types of ownership you can consider.
Individuals who have some property or assets before they get married should get some legal advice before the date of marriage. It may be a good idea to create a marriage contract to be able to protect your property upon marriage.
More and more families who adopt are entering into open adoption agreements with the birth parents.
This type of agreement will spell out custody and access rights, as well as how often the birth parents may have visits or other type of contact with the child as they grow up.
Fertility agreements can be created for those who are using the services of a surrogate mother or those who plan to use a sperm donor.
Separation and/or Custody Agreements
A separation agreement is a written agreement used by people who have lived together for some time whether they were married or in a common-law relationship. A custody agreement is basically the same type of agreement, for people who have not lived together but have had a child together. The agreement can be a final agreement if you have no children or if your children are adults. If you have children, the agreement can be revised to meet their needs as they get older. A separation agreement can be filed at the court for the enforcement of support, or to obtain a divorce.
Agreements can deal with many types of issues about your children, starting with custody and access. This may include a detailed schedule, such as what days of the week they are with each parent, and how holidays will be shared. There may be many other details described in the agreement, such as what community the children will live in, who will pay for medical coverage and if they will be able to move to other locations with the children.
The law requires that financial arrangements are made for children. If the children are living primarily with one parent, the other parent will have to pay child support which is based upon their gross (before taxes) annual income and the Federal Child Support Guidelines. In some cases, child support may be lower than the guidelines.
If the relationship was lengthy, there may be a need for spousal support. Agreements may also deal with division of property such as homes and pensions, as well as payment of debts. Often the agreement will have provisions for regular financial disclosure and life insurance.
If you would like to discuss your case or anything relating to family law, please contact Lisa.