It’s a strange phenomenon exclusive to human relationships that two people who had trouble agreeing on things while married suddenly think they will agree on things as they head for divorce. After all, there’s a reason why civil wars are often the bloodiest battles: emotions run high during such conflicts. As an expert in family law, Burlington Barrister and Solicitor Catherine A. Haber ( has seen her share of conflict. She recommends a legal separation agreement as a first step to declaring a truce.

It is always better – and less costly – for two people to agree on how to settle the issues confronting them during a separation or divorce. Court proceedings can be extremely expensive, and a backlog in court cases means it could take a very long time to conclude. Couples can agree to collaborative “informal agreements” to help deal with the issues surrounding a separation, but these can only work if both parties abide by the agreement. The law leaves the decision about having a separation agreement up to the parties involved. However, without a written, signed and witnessed separation agreement a spouse could have a hard time proving there was ever an agreement in place.

A separation agreement ( is an important step because it is a legally binding contract; both parties who sign the agreement will be held accountable to honour the contract or face consequences. There are many things to consider when drafting a proper separation agreement: issues related to children, to spousal support, to property, to pensions and to investments like RRSPs, mutual funds and stocks. Parents entering into agreements are encouraged to focus on the best interest of their children, including such things as where the children will live, who will have custody, rights to access and levels of child support.

The Family Law Act ( encourages people to enter into such agreements rather than go to court. Even with a separation agreement in place, however, couples who wind up in court could have part of an agreement set aside without the court changing the entire agreement. To find out all the nuances involved in establishing a separation agreement, get expert advice from Burlington’s best family law lawyer, Catherine A. Haber: 370 South Service Road, Second Floor, Burlington. (905) 333-4421