Who can witness a Separation Agreement in Ontario

It is a common Question “Who can witness a Separation Agreement in Ontario?” A Separation Agreement must be witnessed by a person above the age of 18. As per the Legal Requirements and formalities to ensure a Separation Agreement is Legally valid and Binding on the parties it must be in Writing, signed by both parties and witnessed.

A separation agreement is, in fact, a contract between the parties. It is referred to as a domestic Agreement under the

The Formal Requirements of any domestic Agreement under the Family Law Act and section 55 covers its formal requirements.

Do I need to have a Lawyer to Witness a Separation Agreement in Ontario

Under the Family Law Act, there is no legal or formal requirement for it to be witnessed by a Lawyer. However, it is always preferred that a Lawyer, Notary Public or a commission for Oath to witness the Separation Agreement.  It is important to note that Court of Appeal in the case of Gallacher v. Friesen (2014), 319 O.A.C. 351 (CA)  held that a signed agreement was enforceable even if the agreement was not witnessed. It is strongly recommended that the agreement should be witnessed but you may book a consultation with a Family Lawyer or Divorce Lawyer to inquire as to the validity of witnessing a Domestic contract. It should be noted that other facts of the case proved the terms and conditions of the agreement, therefore, the need to have a witness was waived as an exceptional case.  One must note that the purpose of a witness is to confirm that the parties signed the agreement. If other facts of the case proved to the court that the agreement was in fact executed or signed by the parties then an agreement without a witness was held to be acceptable. However, parties should not take such monumental legal risk when entering into a separation agreement.