FROM ADVOCATE DAILY: Putting time limits on spousal support waivers

Ottawa Lawyer Timothy Sullivan article

Because it’s hard to know what your relationship will look like in 15 years

From AdvocateDaily this week:

Putting a time limit on spousal support waivers could reduce the chances of a cohabitation agreement challenge, says Ottawa family law lawyer Timothy N. Sullivan.

In a recent case, the Court of Appeal for Ontario upheld a two-decade-old cohabitation agreement that barred either party from making a claim for spousal support.

The pair signed the agreement in 1997 when they moved in together, but by the time they split 16 years later, they were married with two children. In court, the wife sought to have the contract set aside, claiming it did not meet the objectives of the Divorce Act.

But the unanimous three-judge panel of the province’s top court found no errors in the trial judge’s decision declaring the agreement in “substantial compliance” with the Act.

“[The wife] has shown no error of law or misapprehension of fact on the part of the trial judge,” the panel wrote in their Oct. 2 decision. “The findings and conclusions of the trial judge were open to him on the evidence and are entitled to deference from this court.”

The woman declined an opportunity to seek independent legal advice before signing the agreement, but Sullivan, principal of SullivanLaw, tells that if she had come to him, one of the options he would have suggested was putting a time limit on the spousal support waiver.

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