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Financial Issues This forum is for discussing any of the financial issues involved in your divorce.

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  #1  
Old 06-16-2010, 08:31 PM
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NBDad NBDad is offline
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Default Sample Separation Agreement

Billiechic gave me the idea to start this topic, feel free to add items as you feel necessary. I've been collecting the odd little tidbits below for quite some time over the course of my own ongoing custody dispute.



SAMPLE SEPARATION AGREEMENT CLAUSES


The parties agree that the child(ren)'s health card will travel with the child(ren) for all access and vacation visits; and the child(ren)'s passport and birth certificate will be made available upon request.


That both parties as well as immediate and extended family may attend the child's special events (eg, concerts, competitions, recitals, etc.) without restriction and without regard to whose care the child is in at the time of the event. The CP agrees that the NCP will be permitted to speak with the school, coaches, or organizations in order to remain informed of such events in the child’s life.



The major decisions regarding the health, education, and religion of the children shall be made jointly; and in the event of a disagreement, the custodial parent shall have final say short of a court order brought forth by the non-custodial parent.


The parties agree that child support shall be dispersed using the Federal (replace with Provincial if applicable) child support table guidelines and the offset method with a July to June payment schedule. The payment amounts will be based off Line 150 of the parties respective Notice of Assessments. (remove and the offset method if custody/access is not at least a 60-40 split).


The parties agree that child support will terminate when the following conditions apply:


When ____ (insert child’s name) reaches the age of majority on 12:01am on mmddyyyy.


OR


When _____ (insert child’s name) is no longer living in the household of _______________ (insert as applicable, ie. The CP, either party, etc)


Should ______(insert child’s name) elect to pursue a post secondary education, the parties agree that:


Child support shall continue up until either successful completion of a post secondary program, or 4 years past the date of graduation from secondary school.



AND



The child support payments shall be directed to the child’s portion of their educational costs effective the first day of the month where classes begin for their program and ending the first day of the month of graduation. (see Post Secondary Section below)


*repeat above section for each child specifically*


A July to June schedule will match with the federal CCTB/UCCB payment schedule, so any changes to CCTB/UCCB payments will reflect any changes in the individual households properly.


In order to facilitate prompt and efficient payments of child support as well as section 7 calculations, both parties agree to provide the other, copies of their notice of assessments no later than June 30 of each year.



The parties agree to split the costs associated to special expenses (aka “section 7 expenses” ) proportionally to their line 150 notice of assessment amounts in each given year.

The parties agree that "section 7" expenses are hereby defined as any necessary, tax-deductable educational, medical or dental expense.

The parties also agree that the amount of section 7 expense that will be split will be the net amount after any applicable deductions are applied. (ie. from benefits)

The parties agree that any submitted section 7 expense that would exceed the maximum tax deductible amount for a calendar year will have to be agreed to at least 30 days prior and IN WRITING, or the other party will not be required to contribute towards the expense.


Child Care


The parties agree that they are required to contribute a proportional share of child-care expenses related to work, educational costs and extracurricular activities. The parties each agree that the other shall be granted the right of first refusal for any child care requirement exceeding 8 hours.


The parties agree that the amount to be split for child-care shall be the net result after any relevant deductions are applied. (Government programs/subsidies, UCCB, etc.)


The parties agree that the Universal Child Care Benefit shall be paid to the child care provider (if applicable) by the person receiving it in any given month, and that this benefit amount will be applied to the child care amount prior to proportional division of same.


The NCP shall give at least 24 hours prior written notice to the CP if they desire to cancel an access visit; If the NCP does not arrive to pick the child up within 30 min of the scheduled pick up time (unless prior notice has been provided of cancellation) the CP may assume that the NCP is a no show and may make alternate arrangements accordingly.


Both parties agree that they are not allowed to take the child out of the city of __________ with intent to move, without providing the other at least 30 days advance written notice.


The parties agree that they may travel with the children within Canada, without requiring prior written consent of the other. If necessary, a consent to travel document will be completed/provided by the other party within 5 business days of a written request for same.


The parties agree that travel outside of Canada will require the express written consent of the other party, and that a travel itinerary, including contact information as well as a consent to travel document will be required. The parties agree to provide the other with written notice at least 60 days in advance of plans to travel outside of the country. The parties agree that if consent is withheld, a motion before the courts will be permitted, and if such court action is taken, that the party who is ruled in favor of, will have their legal costs associated to the motion reimbursed by the other.


The parties agree to inform other parent of change in employment within 10 business days, and any change of contact information within 2 business days.

Custody/Access Exceptions



The parties agree that the below Holiday/Vacation schedule shall supersede and take precedence over the normal custody/access already laid out.



Christmas Eve/Day – Hereby defined as December 23rd at ____ time until December 26th at ____ time. CP to have the children on even numbered years, NCP to have the children on odd numbered years.


New Year’s Eve/Day – Hereby defined as December 30th at ____ time until Jan 2nd at ____ time. CP to have the children on odd numbered years, NCP to have the children on even numbered years.


- Make the Xmas/New Year’s schedule the SAME AMOUNT OF TIME.


Easter Break – hereby defined as Easter Friday at _____ time until Easter Monday at _____ time. CP to have the children on odd numbered years, NCP to have the children on even numbered years.


Spring Break/March Break – hereby defined as the time given off by the school the children are in for a given year. If this time off is combined with Easter Break by the school district, then the Spring Break/March Break timeframe is agreed to take precedence. CP to have the children for the Spring/March Break for odd numbered years, NCP to have the children for even numbered years.


Summer Vacation


Each agrees the other is permitted to choose two (2) one week (Sun to Saturday) non consecutive weeks for Summer Vacation access.



Canada Day arrangements are agreed to take precedence and to supersede any time chosen under the Summer Vacation access. Each agrees to provide the other with the chosen access dates no later than ____ (insert date) of each year.



CP to choose their weeks first on even numbered years, NCP to choose their weeks first on odd numbered years.


Canada Day – Hereby defined as ___ am on July 1 until ___ pm on July 1. (May want to switch this to end on July 2, to account for fireworks going past midnight/etc) CP to have the children on even numbered years, NCP to have the children on Odd numbered years.



Birthdays


Both parties agree it is in the children's best interests to be able to have a special "birthday" time with each parent. Each agrees to allow the other party to take each of the children for one afternoon OR evening during the week of their birthday for a birthday lunch/supper/outing/etc. regardless of whose care the child is in at the time, and will accommodate without prejudice any such request to allow for days off of work, coordinating of immediate and extended family visits for this purpose, etc regardless of the day the request falls on. Each agrees to provide the other with one weeks written notice should they wish to exercise this option.



Post Secondary Education


The parties agree to pay proportional to their Line 150 amounts each year, the net cost associated to ______ (insert child’s name) pursuing a post secondary program after any applicable scholarships, bursaries, student loans, etc are applied.


The net cost to include tuition, books, and any course required items/fees/etc. as well as travel 2X/year at the least expensive available public method back to the city of residence (if the post secondary education lies outside the city/province of residence). Residence and Meal plans to be included if available for the post secondary institution. If not available, and alternative arrangements are needed, the cost for housing/meals shall not exceed the least expensive option at a comparable post secondary institution in the area.


The amounts to be paid by the parties shall not exceed 2/3 combined total cost of the child attending the post secondary program. The child is to be responsible for at least 1/3 of the cost, via savings, student loans, scholarships, bursaries, etc.
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  #2  
Old 06-16-2010, 10:01 PM
JohnBennett JohnBennett is offline
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Default Re separation agreements

You can take the best written approved separation agreement to a bunch of lawyers and they will all tell you it is "wrong" and it "needs changes" and it "lacks protections" blah blah blah.

The supposedly best separation agreements that supposedly have "everything" in them are generally next to useless if one of the parties does not act in the spirit of the agreement.

Financial matters are pretty clear cut, you split it down the middle, divide the pensions, calculate the book figures for spousal support etc. That is simply coming up with a figure that is very predictable. A separation agreement just states those numbers.

The real problems are in access and custody. You can have all the clauses you can think of but if one parent decides to brain wash the child or cause the child to be emotionally dependent of them, then the problems will arise that make most agreements next to worthless.

The best agreements, by way of success, are those where both parties sit down together and come up with their own agreement. Its when one of them gets to sit down for some advice that it often goes nasty and those with a vested interest having some endless litigation just throw some fuel on the fire to create another "good client".

Copying someone elses separation agreement from an internet forum is almost certain to guarantee problems. The best agreements are those that work successfully and you those who sign them are most unlikely to make their agreement public.
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:23 PM
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I think it's a good idea to provide a sample agreement, there might be little things that you might miss on your own.
I like the birthday one... never thought of that.
It's probably best to have things detailed out like this incase you/ex run into problems later on, better try to get everything covered now in hopes to save either one of you running to the courts.

I found a few in one of the divorce books:

Both parents recognize the importance of other family members and events that could arise when they have child and try to stay flexible with advanced notice to ensure that child doesn't miss important family events. Make up time can be determined mutually between parents. In making plans for access, the parties will give the needs and convenience of the child primary importance and will give their own needs and convenience only secondary importance. They shall at all times maintain a reasonable and flexible position respecting the visiting arrangements with the child and at all times, the best interests of the child shall prevail.




The parties will keep each other informed of matters touching the interest of the child and they will confer as often as necessary to solve any difficulty reside by or on behalf of the child.
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Old 06-16-2010, 11:57 PM
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I think it's important to identify that the "Separation Agreement" is pursuant to statute of particular jurisdiction. For Ontario - FLA.

Additionally, names of the parties, and their Dependants - D.O.B. and their residency. Commissioning and witness is worthy of consideration.
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Old 06-17-2010, 03:32 AM
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I think people need to realize that when it comes to parenting schedules separation agreements and court orders are like a new car. They are depreciate 30% as soon as they are driven off the lot. And they continue to depreciate over time.

Good parenting plans are dynamic and recognize that children's needs change over relatively small incerements in time. What works today will not necessarily, and even probably, work in a year or even less due to a variety of reasons, including ages of the children, social development, parents own living arrangements, new relationships, develeping interests for children, progress in school, where the kids best friends are, etc etc etc etc.

Trying to contemplate an all encompassing parenting schedule in the aftermath of separation works at that point in time, but a detailed parenting schedule that provides certainty just after separation will almost certainly be a little or a lot obsolete within a year of it's creation. The schedule needs to evolve as the lives of the kids and parents and their respective environments change.

In highly conflicted situations, a regimented and detailed acces schedule is desirable, even necessary. But as time goes by and especially as court involvement becomes less visible in the rear view mirror, parenting times can be adapted to recognize that conflict between the parents will likely, but not certainly, diminish.

Unfortunately, increasing amounts of flexibility being built into parenting plans over time is at odds with the $ implications of CS.
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Old 06-17-2010, 10:56 AM
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I agree that the end goal should be where you can get along and not need to reference the separation agreement, however the chore and the task is getting to the point where parenting is no longer a source of conflict. In my situation, I need something as iron clad as possible, at least initially.

People and situations change, so in 6 months, a year, or 10 years from now, I can certainly hope that things will be different.

If there is a way to interpret something differently, my ex will not only find it, she will everything in her power to exploit and twist it around.

I far prefer to have something that's extremely detailed, so when conflict rears its ugly head once more, I can put the brakes on, haul out the agreement and essentially use it to beat her foolishness back into submission. But that's me and my situation. Kind of goes without saying that every situation is just a little bit unique.

Quote:
You can take the best written approved separation agreement to a bunch of lawyers and they will all tell you it is "wrong" and it "needs changes" and it "lacks protections" blah blah blah.
Lawyers work for you. As long as you keep that in mind, and don't let them run rampant over you, you'll do just fine. The issue as I've experienced it, seems to be when Legal Aid lawyers get involved. They get paid no matter what, and want to keep their meal ticket strung along as long as possible.

In my situation, my ex's legal aid lawyer just keeps letting her try to fight back, over foolish little things. Not only does he allow it, he actually encourages it.

Quote:
The supposedly best separation agreements that supposedly have "everything" in them are generally next to useless if one of the parties does not act in the spirit of the agreement.
I agree 100%. If things are amicable, by far and away that is the best possible scenario. Unfortunately things hardly ever work out that way. You cannot co-parent alone. You cannot force someone to work with you. If the other side is bound and determined to make your life difficult, the best, most iron clad separation agreement in the world won't save you.

BUT if you make things very very clear cut, it makes it that much harder for them to try to play the "find the loophole" game.

Anyway the entire point of posting this was to give others that may be in the same boat of dealing with an extremely difficult ex something to think about. I mean, how many of us (especially those with young children) would think to put in items about post secondary school from the get go? 18 months ago I know I sure wouldn't have thought of it.
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Old 06-17-2010, 11:19 AM
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I agree, the best SA is not going to stop a determined ex from running your life. But for me, setting the rules down explicitly (in an SA) is the best thing, as ex does not seem to comprehend things well (English is his 2nd language). I'm still unsure if some of his misbehaviour in the past few months has been intentional or due to his level of understanding. Probably a little of both.

Having a detailed SA will not stop conflict, but it might reduce it. If you can detail dates, times etc in there, then you might not have to deal with unneccessary phone calls screaming over what time the kids need to be picked up/ dropped off. It will all be detailed and nothing to argue about.

If you are one of those families that can work together to decide what works for your kids, CONGRATS, you're already half-way there. But for those of us in high conflict situations..PLEASE help us buy posting the clauses (or info) that has worked (or backfired!) for you.
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Old 06-29-2010, 11:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NBDad View Post

Both parties agree it is in the children's best interests to be able to have a special "birthday" time with each parent. Each agrees to allow the other party to take each of the children for one afternoon OR evening during the week of their birthday for a birthday lunch/supper/outing/etc. regardless of whose care the child is in at the time, and will accommodate without prejudice any such request to allow for days off of work, coordinating of immediate and extended family visits for this purpose, etc regardless of the day the request falls on. Each agrees to provide the other with one weeks written notice should they wish to exercise this option.
Just to clarify, is this for the child's birthday or the parents birthday, cause I was just thinking of a friend today who is celebrating her birthday without her child and I think it's equally important to have your child on your own birthday!
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Old 06-30-2010, 09:50 AM
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You can always add in a clause that gives each parent time with the child on the parent's birthday. I think it's really important, given that yesterday was mine and I had to take time off work and take her out of daycare just to take her to lunch. Would have been so much easier just to have 2 hours designated to me after work.
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Old 07-30-2010, 11:30 PM
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Another thing maybe to add is who will be claiming the child as a dependant on their income taxes. From what I have heard if both of you make the claim, then neither one of you will be able to if one parent doesn't withdraw.
If it's not in the agreement, does the govt look at factors such as primary residence, custody etc as to who can claim or is it best to make sure that it's in writing?
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