Separation agreement without timelines. WTF?
February 1, 2010 12:29 PM   Subscribe

Is it standard practice to have a separation agreement drawn up without timelines attached to the obligations?

The separation is taking place in Ontario, Canada.

The lawyer who drew up the agreement on behalf of the female party has been characterized as "one of the best" and someone who can "get anything" in a settlement. He specializes in Family Law.

That being said the agreement that both parties signed has no timelines attached to any of the things that both parties agreed to do. You can see what's coming: the male party has not taken a single action to fulfill his part of the agreement. Six months later their financial dealings are still as tangled as the day the agreement was signed.

No enforceable timelines in an agreement seems like a huge omission for an experienced lawyer. Is there malpractice here?

What can be done to enforce a separation agreement with no timelines? The female party is now unemployed and has no money to pay lawyers to chase her ex. Can the enforcement of the agreement be removed from the first lawyer and moved to Legal Aid given her unemployment?

Any insights, suggestions or guidance thankfully accepted.
posted by pixlboi to Law & Government (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I suspect that this was intentional strategy. It looks like the "good" lawyer was basically baiting the male party to flout the agreement, which means he'll get smacked around in the next stage of the process.

Of course, I'm not sure that the lawyer counted on his client running out of money when strategizing for the long run.
posted by Citrus at 1:32 PM on February 1, 2010

If her income is under $15,000 (sometimes they stretch it to $20,000) she can get legal aid. Is she due an equalisation/equity pay-out? Her lawyer may delay his payment until she gets that money. She can also go after her ex for costs so he ends up paying for her lawyer. Is she getting spousal support? The guidelines on the amounts are pretty clear and if her lawyer was as good as you say she should be getting the table amount if she is entitled to it (depends on length of relationship/household income).

A really good Ontario-specific forum is Ottawa Divorce Forum. It includes common-law info too. If she posts her question there with a bit more detail some of the senior members will be happy to help (Mess, especially, is very knowledgable).
posted by saucysault at 2:35 PM on February 1, 2010

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