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 Agreement 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 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.