Steps to Consider when Facing a Divorce

There are many things to prepare for if you are considering a divorce. Set out below are some steps that you need to consider if a divorce is imminent.

Speak with a divorce lawyer
Consult with a divorce lawyer if you are considering a divorce. There are significant legal implications associated when dealing with separation and divorce. To understand your legal rights and obligations as early as possible can help mitigate stress and help you plan for your future.

When you consult with a divorce lawyer you will also learn more about which process is best to resolve the issues arising from your separation. Should you pursue negotiations, mediation, collaborative law or litigation? These are some of the process issues that you will need to understand before starting the process.

Organize your documents
You need to start organizing the documents that will be relevant to your family law matter. This includes your marriage certificate, tax returns, notices of assessment, bank statements, investment statements, pension documents, life insurance policies, debts and etc. Parties considering divorce will very likely need to negotiate financial matters which will require financial disclosure between the parties. Getting organized in advance will save time and make the process less overwhelming. Your lawyer will explain the relevant documents to gather so that documents for the relevant dates are gathered.

Make a Plan
If you and your spouse are still living together it is necessary to start thinking about where you will live in the future. If you have children, this may require more planning in terms of where the children will go to school, go for extra-curricular activities and whether a new family doctor will be required. Start making a budget and understanding the true cost of moving which will likely include moving costs, storage costs and etc.

Stay in the matrimonial home
Unless there are serious security concerns, it is usually recommended to remain in the matrimonial home until your matter has been resolved. This is particularly true if child custody is an issue that will likely be contested. In addition, it is usually easier from a financial standpoint to remain residing in the matrimonial home until the parties have resolved all of their family law issues. However, as every case is unique, it is best to consult with a family lawyer on this issue.

Protect your information
It is advisable to change all of your passwords pertaining to your own personal accounts, including but not limited to your bank account, computer, email and etcetera. In addition, it is prudent to put valuable personal items in a secure location to avoid any disputes that items belonging to another spouse have been ‘stolen’ by the other spouse.

Separate Finances
Parties who are separated are generally advised to open their own banking accounts and separate finances. If still residing in the same residence and sharing expenses, it is important to come to an interim agreement on how living expenses will be shared until the parties physically separate from the home. In cases where parties have joint accounts, you should consult with a family lawyer to understand how the division of joint accounts will occur if there are substantial amounts saved in joint accounts.

Focus on your health
Going through a separation and divorce can be very stressful. During these times it is even more important to focus on your mental and emotional health. Do not hesitate to speak to a therapist so that you can get help to manage the impact of the divorce. Speaking to friends and family members is also very important. Having a strong support group during these times can be very helpful.

Focus on the children
The children should always be top of priority. Typically, parties will enter into an interim parenting plan to allow for a temporary schedule until the divorce process and separation agreement process is finalized. Even as you are going through the divorce process, it is important to keep things as stable as possible for your children. In addition, it is to both parents benefit to stay active in the children’s lives. Also, avoid discussing the divorce or making disparaging comments to each other around the children. The children’s mental and emotional well-being must be at the top of the list during this major life event.

For more information about obtaining a divorce or about obtaining family legal services in Ontario, please contact our Toronto divorce lawyer here.

NOTICE AND DISCLAIMER: The material posted on this website is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please consult with a family lawyer

Other Articles to Read

Child Access in Family Law
The Family Responsibility Office

Helpful Resources:

Divorce and Separation
Family Justice Services
Child Custody and Access
Spousal Support
Child Support
Division or Equalization of Family Property
Treatment of a Matrimonial Home
Enforcement of Support Payments
Child Protection
Child Adoption