West Coast LEAF’s Separation Agreements: Your Right to Fairness is a plain language booklet that gives a general overview of some of the financial issues that arise during separation and divorce. The booklet provides tips for making sure a separation agreement is fair, discusses legal tools for protecting family property, and describes the law governing when the court can set aside an unfair agreement. While the legal information contained in the booklet applies to everyone, the booklet is geared towards women, who tend to face particularly critical financial challenges when they separate from a spouse.
Marital breakdown has a profound impact on many women’s economic security. Because of women’s primary responsibility for childcare and greater likelihood of leaving the paid labour force when their children are young, as well as the lack of affordable child care and continued pay inequity on the job, women earn less money overall. Lower earnings, combined with a lack of access to legal aid, make it much harder for women to access justice in family law cases.
Moreover, women may be denied information about the family finances and may not have access to important financial documents held by their ex-husbands. Language barriers and cultural taboos around women’s involvement in the family’s finances compound the challenges.
Separation Agreements: Your Right to Fairness seeks to provide crucial financial information to women who need it. We recently updated the booklet, in collaboration with the Legal Services Society (LSS), to reflect changes to the law resulting from the new Family Law Act. We are also partnering with LSS to translate the booklet into five additional languages (Punjabi, Spanish, Tagalog, and Traditional and Simplified Chinese), which will be available this spring.
Hard copies of the booklet can be ordered free from the Crown Publications Service.
Thank you to Laura Track, Legal Director from Clicklaw Contributor West Coast LEAF, for providing this article on their new resource. — Clicklaw Editorial Team