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Friday December 7, 2018

Family Law “Kitchen Table” Agreement Goes to the Supreme Court of Canada

Authored by: Jessica D. Chapman Posted in: Family Law

As lawyers, we often see clients that have “side deals” with their former spouse, saying something like “We talked that out and you don’t need to put anything in the agreement about that. We got it.”

The Supreme Court of Canada recently released a Decision related to a woman’s entitlement to her ex-husband’s life insurance policy.  Here are the basic facts from the case:

The Supreme Court of Canada described this as a legal battle between two “innocent” parties.  Risa Sweet suffers from chronic illnesses and cannot take public transport according to her court filings.  She continues to have trouble paying rent and buying food. While the above Decision of the Court decided in favor of Michelle who entered into the oral “kitchen table” agreement, this was only after presumably a great deal of legal fees and/or stress spanning over five years.

In my view, the take away from the Supreme Court of Canada’s Decision and the experience of both Michelle and Risa, is that it is normally in everyone’s best interests to have their intentions related to all issues reflected in a Separation Agreement.  This can help to ensure that everybody is in agreement on all issues and can avoid legal fees, stress, and uncertainty in the future.

To seek more information on Kitchen Table Agreements, contact one of our Family Law lawyers.

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