There were nearly 43,000 divorces granted in Canada in 2020.
In Manitoba, an essential aspect of divorce is legal separation. The legal separation process comes with its own terms, conditions, and procedures, which you must follow in order to protect yourself, your assets, and your family.
If you and your spouse or common-law partner are wanting to separate, doing your research is a good first step. Read this quick guide to what you should know about legal separation in Manitoba to learn more.
What Is Legal Separation in Manitoba?
In the process of divorcing a spouse, you must make a Marital Separation Agreement. In Manitoba, there are actually two types of agreement for separation: temporary and permanent.
The temporary separation agreement is exactly that: a temporary agreement created before the divorce is finalized. These terms are valid until you've been legally separated.
The permanent separation agreement, on the other hand, comes into effect when you and your spouse or common-law partner are legally separated.
What’s Covered in a Separation Agreement?
While each couple's separation agreement will be unique to their particular circumstances, there are a few items that are typically covered in every agreement for separation.
The division of assets is a major part of any separation agreement. This includes the division of family property, the right to live in the family home, estate rights on the death of each spouse, as well as the responsibility for family debts.
If there are children involved, the agreement must contain parenting arrangements. This involves child custody, who will be the primary caregiver, and who has ultimate authority over critical life decisions.
A legal separation agreement should also talk about support. This includes child and spousal or common-law partner support.
How to Begin the Separation Process
You and your partner may be able to work out an agreement on your own, without the help of a lawyer or mediator. However, many couples find it difficult to get through this process without the assistance of a Manitoba family lawyer.
A lawyer can help you bargain and negotiate the terms of the agreement when you reach an impasse. They can ensure that both parties are receiving their fair share in the agreement. Lawyers can also put the agreement into a more formal document on your behalf.
How Long Does a Legal Separation Take?
There's no real timeline for how long a legal separation takes in Manitoba. In most cases, though, the timeline depends on you and your spouse or common-law partner.
If you're able to come to an agreement on separation issues, you may only be looking at weeks. But if you're having a lot of disagreements, bargaining and negotiations can add up. The process may take months to complete in these cases.
For this reason, it's a good idea that both parties have legal representation throughout the process. This will make items such as the division of assets and child support move smoother.
Need Help With the Legal Separation Process?
The legal separation process in Manitoba is not all that complicated. What makes it complex are the issues that arise among partners. These issues may involve division of property, support, and important decisions around child custody.
To make this process run as quickly and smoothly as possible, it's best to work with a Manitoba family lawyer like Cassidy Ramsay. Find out more about our divorce services here.