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Divorce for Dummies – Chapter 3 - Separation Agreements

This week I want to share my thoughts on do-it-yourself Separation Agreements.

Typically, one separated spouse will approach the other, and suggest that everything can be simply worked out, without the need for those “money hungry ambulance chasers”, or the equivalent.

While it sounds like a fabulous way to save time and money and keep things civil there is often an ulterior motive at work.

In my many years of family law practice I have found that the person who makes this suggestion has in fact already received some legal advice, but it’s legal advice they don’t like. The last thing they want is for their spouse to know their legal rights.

Typically, they will say things to their spouse such as, “I don’t need to pay you any spousal (or child) support”, or “I don’t need to share that asset with you”.

The amazing part of all this is that their spouse often believes them!

My advice is simple. If you actually trust the legal advice you receive from your ex-spouse you have a more trusting relationship than most couples, and should probably remain together!

Other concerns I have with DIY Separation Agreements in particular is that often very key provisions are either omitted entirely or simply incorrect. Once an Agreement is signed it can pose a significant challenge to try and amend it. Far better to do it correctly the first time.

Notwithstanding, if you, and your, ex are determined to DIY, then I strongly recommend, before it’s signed, that you both receive independent legal advice. I can assure you it will be an enlightening experience you will not soon forget. You may discover, much to your surprise and grave disappointment, your trust has been sorely abused.

Don’t be that (trusting) dummy!


Please ask Scott any questions you might have 604-534-6361

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