A separation is when two people decide to end their domestic relationship. It is not a legal term, and it’s not something that is granted by a court of law. Married couples may decide to separate, but not necessarily get a divorce.
What is a separation exactly?
Both unmarried couples and married couples may decide to separate from each other. And that simply means they are going to figure out how to divide their shared life of interdependence. Each party can be represented by lawyers who will advocate on their behalf if there are any disagreements on how specific assets or property should be divided.
However, a major difference is what rights each party has. If a married couple decides to separate, they may have more rights to property than if unmarried couples wish to separate. Also, married couples would need to file for a divorce if they wish to remarry again at some point in the future.
For married couples, there are specific rights to certain assets, such as the matrimonial home, pensions and retirement funds, and wealth accumulated during the marriage. It doesn’t matter if the property is held in one person’s name – if it’s considered family property, it will be included in the equalization payment calculations.
For unmarried couples, a separation will mark the end of their domestic relationship. Its an end to a relationship, without an official court document. However, unmarried couples may want to consult with an experienced legal professional for additional information on legal rights. He or she will be able to help you identify what rights you have to property accumulated or shared during the relationship, and what legal options you can utilize to protect your rights and financial interests.
It’s possible that you may have already worked out some of the issues for how to divide property through a cohabitation document or separation agreement. If not, a family lawyer can help you draft one, and/or assist with negotiating a settlement with your partner that makes sense for your specific situation.