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When you have success in negotiation, or collaborative family law, or mediation, then the results can be converted to one or more of the following: a separation agreement, a parenting plan, or a court order on consent.


A separation agreement is recognized under the Family Law Act of Ontario as a domestic contract which can govern the terms of your breakdown between you and your spouse. It is a contract which is enforceable at law.

You should either have been guided by your lawyer while you were negotiating the separation agreement, or your lawyer negotiated the agreement for you.

Sometimes your division of property requires some things to be dealt with on an urgent basis. For example, if you might have an offer on your home and the spouses agree how to proceed. If that's the case, you can settle some of the issues using an “interim agreement”, and leave the rest for a final agreement.

If you negotiated the agreement, then your lawyer should review the agreement with you in reference to your rights and obligations under various provincial and federal laws, and amend it as necessary.


A parenting plan is an agreement on how you and your spouse are going to divide your rights and responsibilities regarding the children. A parenting plan might provide a schedule for each parent to see the children. It can be useful by eliminating sources of conflict between the spouses.

You can negotiate a parenting plan with your spouse, or with the help of your lawyer, or with a mediator.

Sometimes a parenting plan is negotiated at the same time as the rest of your terms of separation. Other times, you need a parenting plan on a priority basis (because children's welfare comes before property disputes, most people will agree). Sometimes you need a specialized expert to guide the parents in reaching a workable plan for parenting.

You can negotiate a parenting plan on a priority basis and then include it as a schedule to a separation agreement, after you have negotiated the rest of the issues such as property division and support.


Did you know you can get a court order without actually appearing before a judge?

If you and your spouse reach an agreement, and you both consent to the terms of the agreement being converted to a court order, then you can have the court issue a court order. This is called a court order on consent.



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