The first step in separating is living “separate and apart” from each other. This may occur when parties are still living under the same roof or when they physically transition into two households.
Once separated, there are a number of decisions which must be made before a “legal separation” can occur. Some of the common topics which would be discussed are: how you will parent your children, how the children will be supported, how each party will manage their finances, how your will divide your property, etc. Most often, after much negotiation you and your former spouse will reach agreement on these topics, and will sign a Separation Agreement thus making your separation “legal”.
Although and your spouse may have made your own agreements as to the above topics, I highly recommend that you review these arrangements with a lawyer to ensure that (1) all the necessary topics have been covered (most clients will miss a few key topics) and (2) you have created a legally-binding agreement.
Once you have arranged all of your post-separation issues, you may then proceed to legally dissolve your marriage by application to the Court of Queen’s Bench for a divorce. Most divorcing couples will have to wait a year before finalizing their divorce, so there will be time for you to have the necessary discussions about your separation.
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