This is part three of our “How To” series, where we walk you through the Agree section of our website.
Thistoo has designed the Agree section to help you create an automated separation agreement for your divorce. While it is not necessary to have a separation agreement to be legally separated, having one can help protect you, your children, and your assets. A separation agreement determines which party gets to keep what assets, describes the custody arrangement and access time to your children, and outlines the details of your spousal support obligations.
Thistoo provides you with a blank template, which you can work through, and outlines all of the significant terms of separation that you need to consider. These can include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Date of separation
- Spousal support
- Children (custody, child support)
- Assets (property, pensions)
The first step is to fill out yours and your spouse’s general information. This includes your full name (including your first, middle, and last name), your gender, and your date of birth. It also includes your employment status, whether you are employed, self-employed, or unemployed, and your gross income. If you are “self-employed” it means that you work for yourself instead of working for an employer that pays you a wage. To be “self-employed” you must generate your income through a trade or business that you operate directly. This could mean you work as an independent contractor, sole proprietor of your own business, or even as a member of a partnership in business.
Next, fill out your marriage details. This includes the date you and your spouse started cohabitating, the date you got married, the location of your marriage, and the date you separated.
Date of Cohabitation
“Cohabitation” is a vague term. A couple can be deemed to be cohabitating even while living in separate residents, and couples who live in the same house can be construed not to be cohabitating. Some couples live in separate rooms in the same home, even after they separate. They do this for financial reasons.
Based on previous cases there are some factors courts may consider, in determining whether a couple is cohabiting or not. Factors include whether the pair eats meals together, shares the same bed, shares household chores, or take care of each other when ill.
Next, enter the date that you and your spouse married. This can be found on your marriage certificate.
Then, add the date that you and your spouse separated. Separation in Ontario law means that you and your spouse are living “separately and apart” without any intention of resuming cohabitation. As mentioned previously, sometimes, spouses can be considered to be living “separately and apart” even though they are under the same roof. To determine whether a couple is separated, the courts will look at whether there is any sort of physical separation, and whether there is a withdrawal from the marriage. Try to recall to the best of your ability, the day you and your spouse started withdrawing from your matrimonial obligations, and started living separately and apart.
Next, enter the name and information of your children. This includes their full name, birthdate, and their gender. You can then customize the custody arrangement. Our application lets you pick between sole or joint custody for your children.
Our application also allows for you to list any exceptions to the custody arrangement you have chosen. For example, if one spouse wants to take the child every Thanksgiving or every Halloween, the app allows for that possibility.
Special expenses can come up at any point when raising children. Potential expenses that we predict could be for extracurricular activities, medical expenses for anything not covered by insurance plans, and other emergencies. Our app allows you to divide the cost of these special expenses with your spouse, so that division reflects income, custody and personal preference.
Our application allows you to determine child support payments and all the details associated with it. It lets you choose which of the parties will be claiming tax credits for the children, who will be providing health and dental insurance for the children, and allows you to adjust the annual support based on the Consumer Price Index. Leave the monthly support payments blank for us to automatically calculate fair support payments.
Our app lets you determine who the supporting spouse will be, based on both of your incomes. You can customize your monthly support payments, or leave the field blank to let us calculate the government recommended amount, and duration of payments.
Material Change Conditions for Spousal Support:
The law provides that a “material change” in either spouse’s lifestyle can prompt an adjustment for spousal support payments, or can sever it altogether. Thistoo’s automated separation agreement allows for you to include a clause that permits the re-negotiation or severance of support payments, should there be a material change in circumstances.
A material change includes a variety of situations, as addressed by the courts and case law. One circumstance is where the supported party begins cohabiting with a new partner. This can be concluded if the supported spouse has been living with their new partner for at least 60 days, or the relationship resembles one of marriage.
Thistoo recognizes that sometimes one party in a marriage gives up income and employment in order to maintain a house or raise children. After divorce, if the supported spouse regains full-time employment, this can count as a “material change” and can trigger the amendment of spousal support
You can also opt to sever support payments in your separation agreement when the supporting spouse reaches the age of pension. This can happen when the supporting spouse becomes eligible for pension, or when they actually begin receiving pension. If you are eligible for pension, be sure to include the name of your company and/or employer, your pension plan provider, and your pension plan reference number. You can find this information on your registered pension plan.
Property and Financials
The application allows you to determine which party will assume responsibility for any outstanding debt you and your partner have accumulated. You can also opt to split the debt between you both. We also have our asset calculator available for your use, to assist you in dividing your shared possessions.
If you are the supporting spouse, our application allows for you to use your life insurance policy to cover child support obligations. Thistoo highly recommends you choose this option to ensure your child is still provided for, if anything happens to you.
According to s 18(1) of the Family Law Act, the matrimonial home is the property in which both you and your spouse have a joint interest. It can be a residence that you and your spouse currently occupy, or occupied at the time of your separation. Just fill in the necessary information in our “Agree” section, including the address of your home, and the details of your mortgage. You can find this information from your Mortgage Document, or by contacting your realtor. You and your spouse can agree that one of you will keep ownership of the house, or you can sell it and split the proceeds as you deem fit.
The application also allows you to determine the type of consent required before entering the other party’s property, and whether you or your spouse will be seeking independent legal advice in regards to your separation agreement.
There is also room for you to include customized additional clauses in your separation agreement, in case we have missed something you want in writing. Remember, if you and your spouse work together to draft the agreement, your divorce will be more amicable.
We hope this How To guide assists you in navigating our Agree section. Undergoing divorce can be a daunting experience, however being provided with the correct and necessary information is always helpful in easing the burden.
Feel free to contact us by filling out the form below. If you want to get in touch with us sooner, feel free to call us at 1-800-208-7619 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. One of our customer support staff would be happy to assist you.