Typically, separation agreements and other domestic contracts will attempt to address the repercussions of any future changes to the parties’ respective situations. For example. what happens in the event that one or both spouses have lost their jobs, have a lasting illness or disability or have married someone else? Needless to say, it is difficult to predict the future, and even more difficult in the context of trying to address the repercussions of such unforeseen changes on the partners’ support obligations to each other.
The remainder of this section will focus on the many important aspects of trying to reach a valid and comprehensive separation agreement and examine how the courts have tackled a range of particular circumstances. The best takeaway is that it is always best to get the help of an experienced Family Law Lawyer.
In the case of Greffe v. Greffe, the parties separated after being married for 25 years. The husband had been the primary wage earner throughout the marriage working as a steel mill foreman and municipal councillor, currently earning about $150,000. The wife stayed at home to care for their children and took on the traditional homemaker role for the family.
The Ontario Court of Appeal in the case of Ward v. Ward had to evaluate whether a handwritten separation agreement, with the assistance of their respective lawyers, was “at best, an outline” or whether it was a binding contract between them.
In the case of Davis v. Hutchinson, a wife unsuccessfully applied to have minutes of a settlement set aside even though certain items, which were agreed to in principle by her and the husband, were overlooked when the final agreement was put into writing.
Couples who have separation agreements in place sometimes have to make changes to reflect new and unforeseen circumstances. But what happens if one of the parties refuse to sign? The case of Kalverda v. Kalverda demonstrates this scenario and what a court will do once it is asked to step in.
In the case of D’Andrade v. Schrage, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice tackled the question of how much personal disclosure is required when spouses negotiate their separation agreements, specifically whether they are obliged to disclose the existence of an extra-marital affair.