Divorce & separation

How to write your own separation agreement

Other issues covered in the Continuing Legal Education Society of BC Manual

Below is a list of some of the topics covered in the Continuing Legal Education Society of BC (CLEBC) Family Law Agreements: Annotated Precedents (the CLEBC Manual), an online resource that is far more detailed than our separation agreement guide.

The CLEBC Manual contains many more precedent (sample) paragraphs you could use in your separation agreement. It also contains detailed explanations for many areas of law not covered in our guide. For $250, you can get a one-year subscription to this online resource. See the CLEBC Online Store for details.


Children: Guardianship, Parenting Time, Contact

Best Interests of the Children [§8.1]

  • Parental Role [§8.2]

Guardianship [§8.3]

  • Parents Remain Guardians [§8.4]
  • Parental Responsibilities [§8.5]
  • Contact [§8.6]
  • Parenting Coordinator [§8.7]
  • Guardianship if a Parent Dies [§8.8]

Custody and Residential Arrangements [§8.9]

  • Custody [§8.10]
  • Joint Custody and Guardianship [§8.11]
  • Co-parenting Counselling [§8.12]
  • Counselling [§8.13]
  • Custodial Parent Dies First/Unable to Care for Children [§8.14]
  • Assisting a Guardian [§8.15]
  • Standby Guardian [§8.16]
  • Child’s Residence [§8.17]
  • "Nesting" or "Bird's Nest Access" [§8.18]
  • Communication [§8.19]

Parenting Time and Contact with Children [§8.20]

  • Generous Parenting Time [§8.21]
  • Schedules Describe Minimum Parenting Time [§8.22]
  • Schedules Set Standard but Contemplate Variation [§8.23]
  • Where Parenting Time to Be Exercised [§8.24]
  • Comprehensively Defined Parenting Time [§8.25]
  • Weekdays [§8.26]
  • Weekends [§8.27]
  • Special Holiday Arrangements [§8.28]
  • Birthdays and Other Special Days [§8.29]
  • Telephone, Text Messaging, and E-mail [§8.30]
  • Other Occasions [§8.31]
  • Date for Arranging Special Parenting Time [§8.32]
  • Priority of Holiday/Extended and Special Parenting Time [§8.33]
  • Parenting Time When One Parent Lives Out of Town [§8.34]
  • Review If Parent Moves [§8.35]
  • Review If Parent Moves Closer [§8.36]
  • Supervised Parenting Time [§8.37]
  • Scheduled Activities for Children [§8.38]
  • Transportation [§8.39]
  • Delivering Children to Activities [§8.40]
  • Interference with Parenting Time — Make-up Parenting Time [§8.41]
  • Child Not Available: Make-up Parenting Time [§8.42]
  • Parenting Time Not Exercised: Child Care Expenses [§8.43]
  • Parenting Time Curtailed [§8.44]

Dispute Resolution [§8.45]

  • Decision-making Protocol [§8.46]

Decisions About a Child’s Health, Education, and Well-being [§8.47]

  • Day-to-day Decisions [§8.48]
  • Major Decisions [§8.49]
  • Emergency Care [§8.50]
  • Information About a Child’s Health, Education, and Welfare [§8.51]
  • Religion [§8.52]
  • Child’s Name [§8.53]

Change of Residence and Travel [§8.54]

  • Notice of Change of Residence [§8.55]
  • Effect of Relocation on Parenting Arrangements [§8.56]
  • Relocation: Need for Consent [§8.57]
  • Contemplated Relocation Outside Area of Residence [§8.58]
  • Travel Outside Area of Residence [§8.59]
  • Foreign Travel: Passport, Medical Coverage, and Consent [§8.60]
  • Foreign Travel: Permission Letter [§8.61]
  • Insurance/Liability for Medical Costs Incurred Outside Country [§8.62]
  • Automobile Insurance [§8.63]

Child Support Guidelines [§9.2]

  • Agreement on Guideline Income [§9.3]
  • Child Support [§9.4]
  • Child Support in Table Amount [§9.5]
  • Prior Child Support [§9.6]
  • Special or Extraordinary Expenses [§9.7]
  • Medical and Dental Insurance Maintained by One Party [§9.8]
  • Medical and Dental Insurance Maintained by Both Parties [§9.9]
  • Additional Medical and Dental Coverage [§9.10]
  • Processing Insurance Claims [§9.11]
  • Payments Not Covered by Insurance [§9.12]
  • Plan Coverage Not Available [§9.13]
  • When Obligation to Pay Child Support Ends [§9.14]
  • Obligation to Inform If Coverage Ends [§9.15]
  • Indemnity [§9.16]
  • Expenses That Are Not Special or Extraordinary [§9.17]
  • Support Exceeds Table Amount [§9.18]
  • Support Is Less Than Table Amount [§9.19]
  • Split Custody [§9.20]
  • Shared Custody [§9.21]
  • When Child Support Is to Be Paid [§9.22]
  • Post-dated Cheques [§9.23]
  • Inter-bank Transfers [§9.24]
  • When the Obligation to Pay Child Support Ends [§9.25]
  • Adult Child in University [§9.26]
  • Ongoing Financial Disclosure [§9.27]
  • Obligation to Notify [§9.28]
  • Lump Sum Child Support [§9.29]
  • Tax: Child Support Not Deductible [§9.30]
  • Child Tax Benefit [§9.31]
  • Overpayment of the Child Tax Benefit [§9.32]
  • Equivalent to Spouse [§9.33]
  • Varying Child Support [§9.34]
  • Payor’s Income Fluctuates [§9.35]
  • Child Support: Material Change of Circumstances [§9.36]

Debts

  • Deliver Up Credit Cards/Close Accounts [§15.1]
  • Payments on Credit Cards [§15.2]
  • Responsibility for Particular Debts: Schedules [§15.3]
  • Debts in Each Spouse’s Name [§15.4]
  • Joint Debts [§15.5]
  • Solicitor Directed to Pay Joint Debts [§15.6]
  • Tax Liabilities [§15.7]
  • Claiming Income and Attribution of Capital Gains or Losses [§15.8]
  • Capital Gains: Sample Form [§15.9]
  • Removing Spouse from Liabilities [§15.10]
  • Dividing Joint Debts [§15.11]
  • If Spouse Pays the Other’s Debt [§15.12]
  • Loans from Family [§15.13]
  • Loans Between Spouses [§15.14]
  • Undisclosed Debts [§15.15]
  • Future Liabilities: Responsibility for New Charges on Accounts [§15.16]
  • Bank Line of Credit [§15.17]
  • Pledging Credit [§15.18]
  • Promissory Notes [§15.19]

Family Residence

  • Transfer Subject to Release from Liability [§11.3]
  • Family Home Transferred into Both Names [§11.4]
  • Severance of Joint Tenancy [§11.5]
  • Option to Purchase from Other Spouse [§11.8]
  • Family Home Is Currently Offered for Sale [§11.9]
  • Family Home Will Be Offered for Sale Immediately [§11.10]
  • Property Will Remain in Family Home Until Sold [§11.11]
  • Spouse Will Occupy Until Sold [§11.12]
  • Rent Not Payable [§11.13]
  • Rent Payable [§11.14]
  • Repairs and Expenses [§11.15]
  • Notice Concerning Repairs and Improvements [§11.16]
  • Yardwork [§11.17]
  • Responsibility for Mortgage [§11.18]
  • If Occupying Spouse Rents Out Part of the Family Home [§11.19]
  • Indemnity if a Party Fails to Make a Required Payment [§11.20]
  • Reimbursement for Past Expenses [§11.21]
  • Family Home Is Rented [§11.22]
  • Advance Payment of Anticipated Proceeds from Sale of Family Home [§11.23]
  • Execution of Documents [§11.24]
  • Payment to Solicitor in Trust [§11.27]
  • Mortgage Renewal [§11.28]
  • Removal of Charges [§11.29]
  • Responsibility for Registered Charges [§11.30]
  • Registered and Unregistered Charges [§11.31]
  • No Further Charges to Be Registered [§11.32]
  • Tax: Shared Equally [§11.33]
  • Designation of Principal Home [§11.34]
  • Execution of Formal Waiver/Release [§11.35]

Other Land

  • Each Spouse Keeps a Property [§11.37]
  • Transfer Contingent on Completing Other Parts of the Agreement [§11.38]
  • Revenue Property Will Be Retained Indefinitely [§11.39]
  • Severance of Joint Tenancy [§11.40]
  • Retain Revenue Property Until a Stipulated Event Occurs [§11.41]
  • Use of Revenue Property Listed for Sale [§11.42]
  • Expenses Paid from Revenue [§11.43]
  • Management of the Revenue Property [§11.44]
  • If a Party Wishes to Sell [§11.45]
  • Accounting After Sale of the Revenue Property [§11.46]

Parenting Time and Contact with Children [§8.20]

  • Generous Parenting Time [§8.21]
  • Schedules Describe Minimum Parenting Time [§8.22]
  • Schedules Set Standard but Contemplate Variation [§8.23]
  • Where Parenting Time to Be Exercised [§8.24]
  • Comprehensively Defined Parenting Time [§8.25]
  • Weekdays [§8.26]
  • Weekends [§8.27]
  • Special Holiday Arrangements [§8.28]
  • Birthdays and Other Special Days [§8.29]
  • Telephone, Text Messaging, and E-mail [§8.30]
  • Other Occasions [§8.31]
  • Date for Arranging Special Parenting Time [§8.32]
  • Priority of Holiday/Extended and Special Parenting Time [§8.33]
  • Parenting Time When One Parent Lives Out of Town [§8.34]
  • Review if Parent Moves [§8.35]
  • Review if Parent Moves Closer [§8.36]
  • Supervised Parenting Time [§8.37]
  • Scheduled Activities for Children [§8.38]
  • Transportation [§8.39]
  • Delivering Children to Activities [§8.40]
  • Interference with Parenting Time—Make-up Parenting Time [§8.41]
  • Child Not Available: Make-up Parenting Time [§8.42]
  • Parenting Time Not Exercised: Child Care Expenses [§8.43]
  • Parenting Time Curtailed [§8.44]

Pensions and Other Plans

Pensions Subject to the Family Relations Act: Local Plans [§12.2]

  • Provision for Dividing Matured or Unmatured Pension: Short-form Precedent [§12.3]
  • Matured Pension: Long-form Precedent (FRA, s. 76; FLA, s. 117) [§12.4]
  • Provision for Dividing an Unmatured Pension in a Local Defined Contribution Plan: Long-form Precedent (FRA, s. 73; FLA, s. 114) [§12.5]
  • Provision for Dividing an Unmatured Pension in a Local Defined Benefit Plan: Long-form Precedent (FRA, s. 74; FLA, s. 115) [§12.6]
  • Death of a Party: Long-form Precedent [§12.7]
  • Severance Payments [§12.8]
  • Integration with Support [§12.9]
  • Administrative Costs [§12.10]
  • Voluntary Contributions [§12.11]
  • Disability Payments [§12.12]
  • Pension Not Appraised [§12.13]
  • Flexible Benefits [§12.14]
  • Compensation Payment: Immediate [§12.15]
  • Waiver [§12.16]
  • Waiving Share of Pension/Retaining Postretirement Survivor Benefits [§12.17]
  • Agreement for Opting into Pension Division with an Agreement or Order Made Before July 1995 [§12.18]
  • Common-law Spouses and Same-sex Relationships [§12.19]
  • Request for Directions [§12.20]

Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985 (Canada) [§12.21]

Pension Benefits Division Act (Canada) [§12.22]

  • PBDA: Pension Is Family Property [§12.23]
  • PBDA: Spouse's Share [§12.24]
  • PBDA: Transfer of Spouse's Share [§12.25]
  • PBDA: Reduction of Member’s Benefit [§12.26]
  • PBDA: Order to Withhold Benefits [§12.27]

Extraprovincial Plans: Benefit Split [§12.28]

  • Pension Is Family Property [§12.29]
  • Expected Retirement Date [§12.30]
  • Portion of Pension Attributable to the Relationship [§12.31]
  • Pension Benefits [§12.32]
  • When Payment of Share to Spouse Is Made [§12.33]
  • Member Will Pay Spouse’s Share [§12.34]
  • Payment by Administrator [§12.35]
  • Termination of Employment Before Retirement [§12.36]
  • Form of Pension [§12.37]
  • Member Postpones Retirement [§12.38]
  • Deemed Retirement [§12.39]
  • Preretirement Survivor Benefit [§12.40]
  • Trust Obligation [§12.41]
  • If Spouse Dies Before Member Retires [§12.42]
  • Alternative to Member-Administered Benefit Split [§12.43]
  • Consent to Order [§12.44]
  • Communications with Plan [§12.45]
  • Obligation to Sever [§12.46]
  • Tax [§12.47]
  • Right to Buy-out [§12.48]

Canada Pension Plan [§12.49]

  • Canada Pension Plan: Division of Unadjusted Pensionable Earnings [§12.50]
  • Waiver of Canada Pension Plan Division [§12.51]

Old Age Security [§12.52]

  • Waiver of Claim to Old Age Security [§12.53]

Registered Retirement Savings and Income Plans [§12.54]

  • RRSP Division [§12.55]
  • RRIF/LIF Division [§12.56]
  • No Division of RRSP/RRIF/LIF [§12.57]

Life Insurance Policies [§12.58]

  • Ownership of Life Insurance Policies [§12.59]
  • Premiums [§12.60]
  • Co-owned Policy [§12.61]

Registered Education Savings Plans [§12.62]

  • Maintaining the RESP Subscriber [§12.63]
  • Changing the RESP Subscriber [§12.64]

Other Types of Plans [§12.65]

  • Deferred Profit Sharing Plans (DPSP) [§12.66]

Security and Enforcement

Insurance [§10.2]

  • Obligation to Maintain Insurance Policy [§10.3]
  • Obligation to Purchase Insurance Policy [§10.4]
  • Obligation to Maintain Insurance Policy: Declining Balance [§10.5]
  • Premiums Paid by Payroll Deduction [§10.6]
  • Irrevocable Beneficiary Designation/Filing Designation with Insurer [§10.7]
  • When Spousal Support Ends [§10.8]
  • When Child Support Ends [§10.9]
  • If Beneficiary Not Changed When Support Ends [§10.10]
  • Group Life Insurance [§10.11]
  • Additional Insurance Coverage [§10.12]
  • No Surrender or Termination without Consent/Unilateral Surrender or Termination [§10.13]
  • Entitlement to Information [§10.14]
  • If Premiums Are Not Paid [§10.15]
  • Assignment of the Policy [§10.16]
  • Policy Obtained by Spouse [§10.17]
  • Policy May Not Be Encumbered [§10.18]
  • Removing Charges on Policy [§10.19]
  • Claim Against the Estate [§10.20]
  • Trust of Insurance Proceeds: Sample Clause and Schedule [§10.21]
  • Waiver of Benefit of Insurance [§10.22]
  • Obligation to Get and Maintain Disability Insurance [§10.23]

Estates [§10.24]

  • Share of Estate for Spouse [§10.25]
  • Share of Estate for Children [§10.26]
  • Obligation to Re-make Will on Remarriage [§10.27]
  • Failure to Make Testamentary Provision [§10.28]
  • Mutual Wills [§10.29]
  • Support Obligations Bind Estate [§10.30]
  • Funding the Estate’s Obligation to Pay Support [§10.31]

Other Approaches [§10.32]

  • Mortgage [§10.33]
  • Personal Property [§10.34]
  • Trusts [§10.35]
  • Annuities [§10.36]
  • Guarantees [§10.37]
  • Surety Bonds and Escrow Arrangements [§10.38]
  • Letter of Credit [§10.39]
  • Security for Reimbursement [§10.40]

Enforcement [§10.41]

  • File as Judgment [§10.42]
  • Registration in Land Title Office [§10.43]
  • No Filings Permitted [§10.44]
  • Filing Permitted If Party in Default [§10.45]
  • Filings and Registrations of Court Orders Enforcing the Agreement [§10.46]
  • Compensation for Breach [§10.47]

Spousal Support [§9.37]

  • Obligation to Find Employment [§9.38]
  • Obligation to Find Employment Postponed [§9.39]
  • Tuition and Training Expenses [§9.40]
  • Obligation to Keep Records [§9.41]
  • Waiver of Support [§9.42]
  • No Waiver of Support [§9.43]
  • Lump Sum Support [§9.44]
  • Periodic Support [§9.45]
  • Periodic Support: Continuation [§9.46]
  • Tax on Periodic Support [§9.47]
  • Tax on Prior Periodic Support [§9.48]
  • Compensation for Tax Paid on Support [§9.49]
  • Effect on Child Tax Benefit [§9.50]
  • Periodic Support Obligation with Reduction [§9.51]
  • Periodic Time-limited Support Obligation [§9.52]
  • Periodic Time-limited Diminishing Support Obligation [§9.53]
  • Abatement of Support If Spouse Earns Income [§9.54]
  • Spousal Support Paid to Third Parties/Tax [§9.55]
  • Joint Statement of Spousal and Child Support [§9.56]
  • Obligation to Provide Post-dated Cheques [§9.57]
  • Inter-bank Transfers [§9.58]
  • Personal Responsibility for Other Expenses [§9.59]
  • Interjurisdictional Payments and Tax: Withholding Taxes [§9.60]
  • Variation of Support [§9.61]
  • Separate Responsibility for Medical and Dental Benefits [§9.62]
  • Medical and Dental Insurance [§9.63]
  • Short-term Medical and Dental Coverage [§9.64]
  • Processing Insurance Claims [§9.65]
  • Payments Not Covered by Insurance [§9.66]
  • Plan Coverage Not Available [§9.67]
  • Obligation to Pay Spousal Support Ends [§9.68]
  • Obligation to Inform If Coverage Ends [§9.69]
  • Indemnity [§9.70]

Spousal Support: Consultation, Variation, and Termination [§9.71]

  • No Variation [§9.72]
  • Child and Spousal Support Are Dependent Obligations [§9.73]
  • Automatic Variation: COLA Clauses/Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines Clauses [§9.74]
  • Adjustments to Base Amount: Payor’s Income Fluctuates [§9.75]
  • Adjustments to Base Amount: Recipient’s Income Fluctuates [§9.76]
  • Annual Adjustment Based on Supporting Spouse’s Income [§9.77]
  • Obligation to Consult Periodically [§9.78]
  • Entitlement to Information About Income [§9.79]
  • Support Suspended Until Information Provided [§9.80]
  • Variation of Spousal Support If Material Change in Circumstances [§9.81]
  • Establishing Appropriate Level of Spousal Support [§9.82]
  • What Constitutes a Material Change in Circumstances [§9.83]
  • Changes of Circumstance That Are Not Material [§9.84]
  • Limitation: Compensatory Support [§9.85]
  • Limitation on Applications [§9.86]
  • Automatic Suspension of Support [§9.87]
  • Terminating Spousal Support [§9.88]

Taxes

  • The Role of the Tax Specialist [§5.2]
  • Common Law Partners [§5.3]

Tax and Support [§5.4]

  • Income Tax Regime [§5.5]
  • The Inclusion/Deduction Formula [§5.6]
  • Support Amounts [§5.7]
  • Child Support Amounts [§5.8]
  • Periodic Payments [§5.9]
  • Allowance for Maintenance [§5.10]
  • Third Party and Other Specific Purpose Payments [§5.11]
  • Prior Payments [§5.12]
  • Payment for Prior Period [§5.13]
  • Source Withholding and Tax Instalments [§5.14]
  • Repayment of Support Payments [§5.15]
  • Court Orders and Written Agreements Before May 1, 1997 [§5.16]
  • Registration of Court Order or Written Agreement [§5.17]
  • Compensation for Tax on Support Payments [§5.18]
  • Support Payments to an Estate or by an Estate [§5.19]
  • Equivalent-to-spouse Tax Credit [§5.20]
  • Payments to or from a Non-Resident [§5.21]

Tax and Property Transfers [§5.22]

  • Capital Gains [§5.23]
  • Principal Residence [§5.24]
  • Principal Residence Rules [§5.25]
  • Exemption for Principal Residence [§5.26]
  • What Is a Principal Residence? [§5.27]
  • Designating a Principal Residence [§5.28]
  • One Principal Residence per Family [§5.29]
  • Principal Residence Rule Before 1982 [§5.30]
  • Transfer Between Spouses [§5.31]
  • Non-arm’s-length Transfers [§5.32]
  • Rollovers on Interspousal Transfers of Capital

Property and Other Assets [§5.33]

  • Waiving the Spousal Rollover [§5.34]
  • Effect of Section 56 of the Family Relations Act [§5.35]
  • Deduction of Interest [§5.36]

Attribution [§5.37]

  • Property Transfers [§5.38]
  • Spousal RRSPs [§5.39]
  • Pensions [§5.40]

Companies [§5.41]

  • Shares of Company [§5.42]
  • Assets of Company [§5.43]

Joint and Several Liability for Transferor’s Obligations [§5.44]

  • General Rule [§5.45]
  • Exception for Transfers on Marriage Breakdown [§5.46]
  • Determining Whether There Is or Will Be Joint and Several Liability [§5.47]
  • Sample Clause [§5.48]

Trusts, Estates, and Annuities [§5.49]

  • Trusts and Estates [§5.50]
  • Annuities [§5.51]

Deductibility of Legal Costs [§5.52]

Other Taxes [§5.53]

  • Liens [§5.54]
  • Property Transfer Tax [§5.55]
  • Goods and Services Tax, Harmonized Sales Tax, and Provincial Sales Tax [§5.56]