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Separation agreements by mutual consent

Compromise isn't the easiest thing to do when a couple chooses to separate. However, cooperation can go a long way to reducing the stress often associated with a break-up and the financial costs of taking personal issues to court. Collaborative law services through Petersen Stark Scott can be beneficial to British Columbia spouses who want to avoid these additional hardships.

Spouses including common-law partners, working with one another and their individual lawyers, can reach an agreement to resolve child custody, support and property distribution matters. It isn't necessary for a court to make these decisions, although any choices you make must be fair in the court's eyes. An agreement must be entered into willingly and honestly based on full disclosure of information.

Spouses and their attorneys do not take an antagonistic approach in this process. The parties agree to act jointly, communicate and resolve problems with a goal of reaching an agreement satisfactory to both spouses. Legal representation must be independent for each spouse to avoid any conflict of interest.

The spouses and lawyers meet as often as it takes to work out the details of an agreement, which is a legal contract and enforceable. The more complicated the issues are, the longer the process takes. It's a team effort, although there are occasions when attorneys for both sides may meet without spouses in attendance.

The collaborative approach is not suited for all separated spouses, although it is less expensive and time consuming than traditional legal actions. Coming to separation terms this way is a choice that cannot be forced. An agreement made without a court's help only can be made when spousal cooperation is possible, which is sometimes thwarted by a lack of desire to work out problems or an uncompromising situation, like domestic violence.

Attorneys provide spouses with information about all options available to resolve separation and, if desired, divorce matters.

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