Amending Agreements

Amending Agreements

By Allison McAlpine

If you have a Separation Agreement it is not meant to be an Agreement that lasts forever. Certain terms can be changed.  For example, parenting, child support, and spousal support can all be changed if there is a material change in circumstances of the parties.  If the two parties agree on the new terms then the parties can retain lawyers to prepare an Amending Agreement outlining the changes.

An Amending Agreement is a separation agreement which changes the original separation agreement. It is usually a few pages long (rather than the lengthy original separation agreement) because only a few terms are being changed.

For example, let’s say that the separation agreement outlines child support based on a parent’s 2017 income. Once the parties exchange 2018 income tax returns, the parent owed child support realizes that the other parent’s income has significantly increased and therefore that parent wants more child support. Either through mediation or negotiation, the parents agree to the new child support amount. Amending Agreements They then instruct their lawyers to prepare an amending agreement which simply sets out the new child support amount, starting date and new income.  This is a simplified example but outlines the process.

A few considerations to note:

  1. Your Separation Agreement should outline what can be changed or reviewed.
  2. Amending Separation & Parenting Agreements do not apply to Court Orders. If you want to change something in a Court Order you need a new Court Order through a Motion to Change.
  3. The Separation Agreement may have a Dispute Resolution Clause which outlines the process in seeking a change to the Agreement.

If you or the other party do not agree on the changes to be made, then we strongly advise you to obtain independent legal advice. If you have grounds to change the Agreement, then a court application may be necessary.

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