Please note that the information provided herein is not legal advice and is provided for informational and educational purposes only. If you need legal advice with respect to getting a separation agreement in Ontario, you should seek professional assistance (e.g. make a post on Dynamic Legal Forms). We have Toronto and Ottawa family law lawyers registered on Dynamic Legal Forms who can offer information, advice, and assistance with respect to your separation agreements.
The Ontario Family Law Act governs separation agreements and their validity. Separation agreements must be in writing, signed and witnessed [s. 55(1) of that Act]. Independent legal advice is not a formal requirement, but highly advisable to prevent challenges to the contract on other grounds.
Separation agreements or certain provisions therein can be contested and declared invalid if:
- a party failed to disclose to the other party significant assets or significant debts or other liabilities which existed when the separation agreement was made;
- a party did not understand the nature or consequences of the separation agreement; or
- the agreement or a provision therein was not made in accordance with the law of contract (i.e. there was fraud, duress, undue influence, the contract is unconscionable, etc.).
Remember: while separation agreements resolve family matters when you separate, they do not legally end your marriage. The only way to do this is to get a divorce. Only a court can give you a divorce. To proceed with an uncontested divorce, a party will need to complete and submit the divorce forms, pay the required court fees, and follow the court rules and procedures. It is always advisable to retain legal counsel to avoid potential pitfalls in obtaining a divorce that will not later be contested. To know more about getting an uncontested divorce in Ontario, read my previous blog.