When you and your partner have concluded that your relationship is no longer meeting each person's needs, despite all your best efforts, and it is time for each of you to move on, there are many things you can do that will limit or reduce the need for expensive legal costs.
These are some of the steps you can investigate by yourself, or with your partner, even before separation:
List assets, including any historic assets such as down payments for the home, vehicles, RRSPs, and pensions.
List all family and personal debts, and consider whether you should be speaking to your bank or a debt counselor about how to separate them.
Collect important documents, and make a copy of them, such as previous tax returns; pension statements; contracts for the purchase of homes; loan agreements; and proof of any inherited money received.
Inform yourself on how much the household has spent on various costs in the past year such as phone bills, Hydro, insurances, food, and car repairs.
Prepare a budget setting out how much you will need to live on after separation.
Plan how each child, if any, can have maximum contact with each parent on a regular basis.
Calculate how much future child or spousal support should be planned for, given where the children will spend the majority of their time, and how the child’s daily expenses will be shared. You can find such calculations available for a fee at www.mysupportcalculator.ca.
A lawyer can advise you of the legal rules around separation and divorce and can also document the separation in a formal legally binding agreement. This agreement allows you both information on how to navigate your new life post-divorce.
To find a lawyer that matches your individual needs, talk to a few lawyers who have skills for in and out of court resolutions of disputes. Find a professional that you trust. You probably want the least adversarial and most cost-efficient approach, which also protects your legal rights. Each party can expect that compromise will be necessary on some issues.
Other specialists, who are not lawyers, such as bank officers, debt consolidation counselors, family counselors, or real estate professionals can often assist with solutions. A financial specialist may be useful to assist with planning what your future financial situation could look like, and what future options are available.
To survive the upheaval of separation and divorce a good support team is invaluable. Such a team may include not just a lawyer, but individual friends, family members, employers, co-workers, religious groups, medical or other doctors, or individuals in your children's lives. These professionals are often less expensive than lawyers and speed up the resolution of any legal disagreements. This is not a time to feel isolated and alone.
Become informed about the legal issues you will need to decide about. Learn about what options are available for moving forward to a separate lifestyle. Merle Campbell Law offers a free initial no-obligation consultation to assist you with plans for moving forward. Contact us to make an appointment.