Separation Agreements: Prioritize Child Care and Support

The breakdown of a relationship or a marriage has an inherent emotional and financial impact on a separating couple. If there is no hope of reconciliation then the most efficient and cost-effective method of resolving all outstanding issues is by way of a separation agreement. Parties can negotiate and conclude issues such as the division of assets, child support, spousal support, division of pension etc. by executing a separation agreement and thereby limiting resources and time spent on costly divorce proceedings.

Although separation agreements are usually negotiated in emotionally charged situations, it is important for the parties involved to acknowledge that it is in the best interest of all to manage their emotions and to be reasonable. When children are involved, the separation process is often hardest on them and their interests and well-being should be prioritized.

The emotional fragility of children can make them more vulnerable while dealing with the separation of their parents. It is important for each separating parent to remain involved with the children and both parties should strive to reach a parenting arrangement that is least disruptive for the children. If the child is a teenager, parents can consider discussing with the child as to what he or she may be hoping for in terms of their living arrangement.

Each parent’s contribution to child support normally depends on numerous factors including the custody arrangement and on their financial circumstances. Even though it is not possible to forecast all future expenses that will arise related to the children at the time of the execution of a separation agreement, the parties should contemplate and account for expected future expenses such as post-secondary education and extracurricular activities.

It is important to that a separation agreement be drafted with sufficient detail and clarity so that unnecessary future litigation can be avoided.