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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 06-21-2011, 10:28 PM
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Default Separation agreement - How to get it right?

After 6 months of debating, getting legal advices etc, we have come to an agreement and it looks like we're ready to sign separation agreement. My ex insist on 'domestic' version so we avoid lawyer's fees, but knowing his personality I rather do it 'legal' way. I understand that 'kitchen table' agreement has same power as any other but I rather spend some money and avoid problems down the road. On the other side I want to get this done quickly and not be manipulated by lawyers. If we do it through lawyers, will we need supporting documentation (property appraisal documents, etc) and what is the process around that?
Can anyone shed some lights on that? Pros and cons?
Thanks
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Old 06-21-2011, 11:06 PM
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If you have reached an agreement and open the legal can of worms now you are liable to lose your agreement. If you both have got legal advice and are both happy with the agreement - sign it! Then take it and get it notarized to make it more official.

Or sit down with an arbitrator to make it all legal and official for you both - they have the power to do this. Just say to your ex lets get an arbitrator to draft this agreement we both agree to in legal speak and file it with the courts for us.


If two people can make an agreement away from the crazy and just get on with their life - then do it. Just make sure you have the basics all taken care of (custody, access plan, CS, equalization, SS, transportation, end date of CS, end date of SS, section 7, process set up for dealing with conflict - will you communicate through email or should things turn sour will you both pre agree to mediation for help, plan for travelling with the kids, plan for medical emergencies, first rights of refusal, plan for adjusting access - make up time, life insurance - some say it belongs here/some say it doesn't), holiday schedule, PD day who gets? etc.

If you manage all that - why bother with a lawyer?
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Old 06-22-2011, 08:12 AM
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I agree. If you can draft and approve a separation agreement out of court. Good for you. Just make sure you are in agreement with the major components of the agreement, the rest will be easily negociable.

I'm not sure if you or your ex have a partner but I had to revisit the agreement when my ex got a new boyfriend and introduced him to my kids, had him take care of my daughter alone and had sleep overs before she even told me he existed. I had a "new partner integration strategy" included in the agreement... just make sure you cover all basis in regards to keeping your kids safe when in the care of both parents.

Also make sure there is a clause for Dispute resolution... always handy to have a third party revisit the agreed upon clauses if one wants a modification that the other party doesn't want to change.

We have signed the agreement about 10 months ago, and it works well. We have ammended it 5 times since (change access, new partner integration, child support amount after change access, life insurance...) but it was also dealt with outside the courts.

Good luck!
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Old 06-22-2011, 09:52 AM
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What did the new partner integration section look like? I'm curious.
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Old 06-22-2011, 11:05 AM
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We basically gave guidelines as to how new partners should be integrated to the kids lives...

Here is the insert:

The intent of the New Partner Integration Strategy is to allow both Parties to remain informed of each other's relationship status to ensure the appropriate preparation of the children in the face of those changes. This will give both parties the opportunity to prepare the children for any questions or concerns that may arise in the commencement of a new relationship by either party.

Both Party 1 and Party 2 agree to inform the other of any changes in their relationship status that may affect the children.

Party 1 and Party 2 agree that they will inform the other in advance if any of the following are to occur and will obtain the written consent of the other party (via email) in advance, should the Parties be unable to agree to any proposal, or part thereof, the Conflict Resolution process (Mediation) as outlined in the Separation Agreement will come into effect if:

- The children are to meet a new partner of either Party 1 or Party 2
- A new partner is to sleep in the residence of either Party 1 or Party 2 while that Party has access to the children.
- A new partner is to reside with either Party on either a permanent, temporary, or part-time basis.
- A new partner is to provide sole supervision for the children, regardless of the period of time.
- The children are to be transported in a vehicle operated by a new partner.
- A new partner is to given access to pick-up or drop off the children at daycare, school, or pre/post-school programs (both parties must agree prior to these arrangements beign authorized).

Party 1 and Party 2 agree to share basic informaiton about their new partner with the other party prior to the children having a first meeting with the new partner.

A new Partner shall cease to be a New partner once both Parties have agreed that the above terms have been met.

The steps outlined above shall be adhered to be both Party 1 and Party 2 for all future introductions of New Partners until both children have reached the age of 18.

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Old 06-22-2011, 11:33 AM
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*IF* you want to protect against the possibility that your ex tries to annull or re-open the agreement by claiming that they were under duress, misled, stressed, uninformed etc, then you should each have your own lawyer look over the agreement. Then on the agreement, you indicate that you have both received independent legal counsel.

I'm not sure if an arbitrator (as suggested by karmaseeker) fulfills this role, since they are not representing either of you ... I just don't know.

The lawyer will have the experience to point out any omissions or any practical/legal problems that the agreement might cause. But in the end, it is your decision on whether or not to make any changes according to their advice.

The risk is that for either of you, your lawyer is successful in convincing you that you are entitled to much more ...

Last edited by dinkyface; 06-22-2011 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 06-22-2011, 02:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benoitc View Post
We basically gave guidelines as to how new partners should be integrated to the kids lives...

Here is the insert:

The intent of the New Partner Integration Strategy is to allow both Parties to remain informed of each other's relationship status to ensure the appropriate preparation of the children in the face of those changes. This will give both parties the opportunity to prepare the children for any questions or concerns that may arise in the commencement of a new relationship by either party.

Both Party 1 and Party 2 agree to inform the other of any changes in their relationship status that may affect the children.

Party 1 and Party 2 agree that they will inform the other in advance if any of the following are to occur and will obtain the written consent of the other party (via email) in advance, should the Parties be unable to agree to any proposal, or part thereof, the Conflict Resolution process (Mediation) as outlined in the Separation Agreement will come into effect if:

- The children are to meet a new partner of either Party 1 or Party 2
- A new partner is to sleep in the residence of either Party 1 or Party 2 while that Party has access to the children.
- A new partner is to reside with either Party on either a permanent, temporary, or part-time basis.
- A new partner is to provide sole supervision for the children, regardless of the period of time.
- The children are to be transported in a vehicle operated by a new partner.
- A new partner is to given access to pick-up or drop off the children at daycare, school, or pre/post-school programs (both parties must agree prior to these arrangements beign authorized).

Party 1 and Party 2 agree to share basic informaiton about their new partner with the other party prior to the children having a first meeting with the new partner.

A new Partner shall cease to be a New partner once both Parties have agreed that the above terms have been met.

The steps outlined above shall be adhered to be both Party 1 and Party 2 for all future introductions of New Partners until both children have reached the age of 18.

Wow, I would never agree to that.
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:57 AM
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After a stranger that has been dating my ex-wife for a week spent a day alone with my sick 3 year old daughter... and brought her to his house (to feed his dog apparently)... I decided that at all cost I had to protect my kids. It works both ways... and my ex acknowledge that she would not be ok if I did the same to her.

It's not a measure that should last a long period of time, but until the relationship with the new partner can be qualified as "stable" and "trustworthy".... The agreement is not to limit what your ex can and cannot do, but you have a say of what goes on when your kids are with your ex.
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Old 06-23-2011, 10:45 AM
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I'm amazed that this was even written up into your agreement but I guess if you both agree that's ok.

I do not have a separation agreement and my stbx has sent me several emails regarding the fact that he doesn't want our youngest child around anyone that I'm seeing whenever we exchange emails regarding weekend arrangements.

I ignore these messages since frankly its none of his business. When he has the child, as her father, I must trust his judgement regarding who he has her around...I'm often not sure even exactly where they are as he doesn't supply that information to me.

I have had my child on a handful of occasions in the presence of my new partner and I didn't ask permission. Although I had talked to my child first about this new person, I waited until she expressed a desire to meet him rather than pushing it myself. She asked me for aproximately two months before I finally arranged an outing to do so. He is a well-educated, successful father of grown children and has zero problem on producing his credentials should he be asked to supply an affidavit or testify in any of my ongoing court battles.

Over a year ago, at the beginning of our separation, I explained to be stbx that I would be glad to introduce him to this new person as eventually we plan to co-habitate...which means the children will be around him....at which time he told me in no uncertain terms that he wasn't interested and that it would never happen (with some curse words thrown in). Since things are even more hostile now, I haven't bothered to re-address that offer.

My understanding is that this new relationship really has no bearing on my custody battle unless my new partner has a criminal record or some other unsavory issues which would make my judgement to have him around my child/children dangerous or a bad idea. My stbx has a long history of ordering me around...so his emails regarding who I can/cannot have my child around when I have her are not responded to. Frankly, as I've said...I don't tell him what to do...and I am not going to be told anymore what to do either. I have acted in a way that I feel is in the best interest of my children.

If anyone has experience with this having legal rammifications, I'd be interested in knowing about it.
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Old 06-23-2011, 11:01 AM
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I think that a new relationship should be explored without having the kids around, especially alone with the new partner. I cannot stress enough the fear of knowing that your young daughter is alone with a stranger... that should not be ok, and it showed me that my ex was trusting in this new relationship way to much. You just never know.

The agreement is only for time spent alone with the child, and letting the other parent know that a new partner is in the picture, or out of the picture. Kids get attached very quickly and knowing that information will make dealing with the kids and understanding their mood much easier.

It's about protecting the kids... not taking control over the partner's life. Time spent by the kids with the parent and the partner is not important... They should be able to have the opportunity to know him I just disagree that the relationship between the parent and the new partner should progress at the same rate as the kids' relationship with the partner.

I don't think it has legal rammifications, but it is for peace of mind... and making sure kids are adjusting well to the new situation.
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