A Separation Agreement is a written agreement signed by the parties and witnessed which deals with all or part of the issues between the parties. A Separation Agreements is negotiated between the parties and their respective lawyers. Separation Agreements can be quite comprehensive. The cost of negotiating a Separation Agreement is substantially less and is far more amicable than having the matter proceed through the court system.
You may have a hard time proving that you and your spouse had promised to settle things a certain way if you do not have a written, signed and witnessed separation agreement. This could be a problem if your spouse stops respecting your informal agreement. It is advisable to place informal agreements between spouses in a written, signed, and witnessed Separation Agreements. Otherwise, whatever was agreed to between spouses can be difficult to enforce at a later date if one spouse decides to stop respecting the informal agreement.
You may need to resolve issues that have arisen from the breakdown of a relationship right away. You do not have to wait until you are divorced to finalize a Separation Agreement. Moreover, if the Separation Agreement includes support provisions, it can also be registered at the Ontario Court of Justice so that the support terms can be enforced.