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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 02-23-2010, 10:13 AM
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Default Timelines in a separation agreement?

Is it standard practice to have a separation agreement drawn up without timelines attached to the obligations?

The lawyer who drew up the agreement on behalf of the female party has been characterized as "one of the best" and someone who can "get anything" in a settlement. He specializes in Family Law.

However, the agreement that both parties signed has no timelines attached to anything. You can see what's coming: the male party has not taken a single action to fulfill his part of the agreement. Six months later their financial dealings are still as tangled as the day the agreement was signed.

No enforceable timelines in an agreement seems like a huge omission for an experienced lawyer. Is there malpractice here?

What can be done to enforce a separation agreement with no timelines? The female party is now unemployed, there is no spousal support, and has no money to pay lawyers to chase her ex. Can the enforcement of the agreement be removed from the first lawyer and moved to Legal Aid given her unemployment?

Any insights, suggestions or guidance thankfully accepted.
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Old 02-23-2010, 07:18 PM
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Mess is a jewel in the roughMess is a jewel in the roughMess is a jewel in the roughMess is a jewel in the rough

I don't understand what you mean. You've signed the agreement, it says support is to be paid? You've registered the agreement with the courts, then register with the FRO.

As far as finances still "tangled" what is this supposed to mean? Equalzation has presumably split the assets. What assets? Was there a house? Is the house to be sold? Was there to be a lump sum payment? Transfer of RRSP's?

Money owed should be paid immediately, unless a longer timeline is specified. If the agreement is filed with the courts, there was no request for a longer period to pay (to arrange financing etc) then you have to go to court just like anyone else. If I did some landscaping for you and you didn't pay, I'd have to take you to court for my money.
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:52 AM
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The agreement was signed by both parties but as far as I know it was not registered anywhere. This was a common law couple.

By tangled finances I mean the husband has not removed the wife's name from joint bills as per the agreement, has not paid overdue insurance payments per the agreement, has not signed over ownership of the car per the agreement and has not taken any steps to buy out the wife's portion of the jointly-owned home per the agreement. Basically he has done nothing he was required to do.

Both parties waived any spousal support in the agreement.
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Old 02-24-2010, 06:44 PM
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Mess is a jewel in the roughMess is a jewel in the roughMess is a jewel in the roughMess is a jewel in the rough

In order to be legal, the agreement has to be signed by the parties, by their lawyers indicating they received independant legal advice, and then it has to be registered with the courts.

If not, then the husband is not "required" to do anything, the agreement is not legally binding on either of them.

If you want these things on a strict timeline, then you need a legal agreement with some teeth. If you want an informal agreement with little more than a handshake backing it up, then you have to put up with a party's procrastinations.

If the parties were amicable enough to sign the agreement between the two of them, then they should be amicable enough that she can call her ex and ask what's up. As far as the house goes, did the agreement state that the husband would buy out the wife by certain date? If not, what do you expect?

Anything that is joint, she has as much authority to cancel a service or a bill as he does. If she doesn't want her name on the hydro bill she can call hydro and cancel the service.

If she has not asked for spousal support, and she is unemployed, this isn't the husband's doing, and has nothing to do with the timelines.

I know I'm being really unsympathetic, but if you want the law to back up your contract, you have to make it a legal contract. My advice would be for the wife to try to amicably nudge the husband into action, and if he refuses, state that if he wants the separation agreement to be valid, he has to fulfill it, otherwise she can go to court and it would be disregarded.
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