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How to Deal with Legal Issues that Arise because of Separation

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When you separate from your spouse, there is no doubt that legal issues will arise. Fortunately, there are ways to deal with them that help you reduce not only financial loss, but also stress for yourself and your children, if children are involved.

Create a Separation Agreement

The absolute best way for you to deal with any legal issues that might arise during your separation involves drawing up a separation agreement that is enforceable in court. When you do this, remember that the way things work during the separation may not affect what happens later in the proceedings. Therefore, if you move out of your wife's home, this does not mean that you have no right to the home or to its value. What's more, if your husband has use of the family car, this may change once the divorce is final. A separation agreement simply lines out how you and your partner will work together amicably throughout the divorce process.

Child Custody

Unless there is some reason why the child or children are not safe with one of the parents, there is no reason why you cannot share custody. Of course, things like domestic abuse, child abuse, and things of that nature may have a serious effect on the best interests of the child, so in cases like this, if there is no ongoing criminal investigation (and if the courts have not already done so) it is important to file for temporary custody during the separation.

Living Arrangements

If you and your partner separate, but neither have the funds nor the desire to move out of the marital home, Canadian law allows separated individuals to live in the same home as long as they can prove that they live separately. This can and does become complicated, though, so the best advice is to talk to a family lawyer who can give you some guidelines on living under the same roof during a separation. In most cases, you must be able to prove that you and your partner sleep in different rooms and live a separate life as much as possible while living in the same household.

Getting Back Together

Finally, if you and your spouse manage to work things out during your legal separation, you can simply withdraw your petition and end the case altogether. According to Canadian law, couples must remain separated for a period of at least one year. Then, and only then, will the court process a divorce request. If you and your partner reconcile only briefly, you may not have to start that year over again - as long as the reconciliation period does not exceed 90 days during one or more events. If it does, the court will rule that you must separate for another full year prior before getting a divorce.

For the most part, if you and your partner decide to separate, the best thing either of you can do involves hiring a family lawyer to walk you through every step of the process. The best way to reduce stress and burden is to have an advocate on your side who can answer your questions and help you feel empowered.