Legal Insights / Fees / Separation Agreements: what information is needed, costs and timeline

Separation Agreements: what information is needed, costs and timeline

Apr 11 2024

The longer a marriage or marriage-like relationship lasts, the more challenging it may be both emotionally and legally to disentangle your interests. Matters can get even more complicated where children and pets are involved. We can help.

The most common topics that are covered include:

  • Property Division: identifying and dividing family assets and debts, identifying assets brought into the relationship that may be entitled to exclusion from division and any inheritances, and removing names from joint property or planning around sales of joint property.
  • Spousal Support (also known as alimony or spousal maintenance): specify if a party is eligible for spousal support and the amount and duration of that support, and on what conditions.
  • Arrangements for Children: child support, residence for children, including children from prior relationships, and who is authorized to make what kind of decisions and whether input is required (for example: what school the child attends and religious upbringing). Depending on how well the parties communicate, arrangements can be as specific as dividing up holidays and assigning drop off locations and times or more open. Ultimately, if the court is asked to intervene the best interest of a child will apply regardless of any agreements and to be enforceable child support must be in line with legal obligations.
  • Arrangements for Pets: pet support, custody and decision-making authority. The law recently adjusted to acknowledge companion animals as more than just property. You can read more about this in our recent blog post here: What About the Dog? Divorce and Companion Animals

Each relationship is unique and depending on the circumstances it can take years to reach a comprehensive resolution of all issues. It can be beneficial to separate certain issues, like parenting time and child support. More information on Parenting Agreements can be found on our website here:

Where the Parties Are in Agreement

Sometimes a party will come to us with plans for the future largely worked out with their former partner. We will only represent one party to an agreement and it is strongly encouraged that all parties receive legal advice prior to signing anything. This helps ensure that the terms are within the parameters of the law and enforceable in court down the road if a party later changes their mind.

If you have already drafted the agreement, we do offer Independent Legal Advice. More information can be found here: We also have a blog post on common mistakes in homemade separation agreements available here:


If you have largely come to an agreement but would like us to draft the separation agreement, we charge a minimum fee of $2500 plus taxes and disbursements. This fee includes:

  1. One meeting with the lawyer for up to 45 minutes to discuss legal obligations and we will provide guidance regarding financial disclosure required.
  2. One additional “signing” meeting of up to 15 minutes (if necessary).
  3. Review of financial disclosure (ideally both parties complete a financial statement which can be found with instructions here: Financial Statements | Supreme Court BC). Depending on the complexity of each parties’ financial arrangements (how they receive income, what is happening with properties and investments, etc.) this can impact cost but thorough financial disclosure is strongly recommended to ensure your agreement is enforceable.
  4. A report containing child support and/or spousal support calculations (if applicable).

These fees do not include costs for negotiations or substantive changes to the agreement which we are pleased to offer at your lawyer’s hourly rate. This also does not include fees for going on record with the court if there is an ongoing court action.


This largely depends on the complexity of the agreement, how long it takes to exchange financial disclosure and how much was agreed upon before seeing us. Typically we can prepare a draft within 1-2 months but it can take several more to finalize details.

AttemptIng An Agreement

Sometimes following a separation the parties are focused on the present and have not discussed the future or don’t know how to approach this when they come to see us. We are happy to walk through this with you.

Typically, you would start off with an initial consultation with a member of our Family Law team. From there, we will discuss what makes sense for next steps, whether it is filing court documents, preparing a settlement letter or drafting a formal separation agreement. These services are generally charged at our hourly rates. It can be difficult to estimate costs and timeline from the outset as it can be easy or difficult to reach  resolutions on various issues and obtain financial disclosure. We will keep you informed throughout the process and provide estimates where possible.

More about initial consultations can be found here:

More about hourly fees can be found here:


Regardless of whether you are near an agreement or just starting the process of considering how to move forward, we will be asking you to provide the following details so that we can represent you effectively:

  1. For each party: full name, address, birthdate and status prior to the relationship
  2. For each party: occupation, employer and annual salary/earnings
  3. When the parties started cohabiting and when they were married (if applicable)
  4. Details of any children either party has: full name, birthdate, who are the parents, what (if any) support arrangements are currently in place and what arrangements are in place regarding parenting time and decision-making for the children
  5. List of each parties’ financial information: assets and debts, including identifying information, current value and value of the asset or debt at the time the parties entered into a marriage-like relationship; real estate, pensions, investments, retirement savings, large assets like vehicles, boats, etc.
  6. List of any joint assets and debts
  7. Details of any business interest each of the parties has
  8. Pet details: name, age, breed/description


Please reach out to our Litigation Intake Team at 778.666.3723 or by email to First we will need to confirm who the parties are and that we are able to represent you. Then we will set you up with a member of our Family Law team who will be happy to assist in preparing your separation agreement.

Get in Touch


ICBC Enhanced Accident Benefits: Frequently Asked Questions


Nurturing Your Workforce: Tips for Employers re Pregnant Employees and Parental Leaves

Want new INSIGHTS before they get published? JOIN THE LIST.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.