Published: January 4, 2018
Every marriage begins with good faith and high hopes. But the sad truth is that many marriages end in divorce. What happens then? What are your legal rights and what are the legal rights of your former spouse? There is a lot at stake. You need to make important decisions, with the first and most important decision, being the choice of a Family Law lawyer.
Many things will be easier if you had the foresight to set up a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that defines what your former spouse can get in the event that you separate and divorce. The only difference is timing: a prenuptial is signed before you get married, a postnuptial is signed after you get married. Either agreement covers support and division of marital assets.
Five ways to make divorce less stressful for you and other family members
1. Think before you act to avoid unnecessary divorce turmoil.
Many couples end a relationship quickly after heated words are exchanged or feelings are hurt. They may assume that the sooner they get out of a stressful situation the better it is. It’s important to not take any steps without first consulting with a divorce lawyer.
It’s also important to not make rash decisions as this may limit what a lawyer can do to protect your interest. The better approach is to work with your lawyer on a constructive plan of action for your children and your finances. Avoid high conflict marital breakups because they can have a lasting negative impact on children.
2. Create a “get a divorce” support group
Everything is easier if you have emotional support from the people who care about you: family members, friends, neighbors and professionals who can help you get through the emotional side effects of a divorce. It is important not to withdraw into a state of depression, which not only hurts you but also others that you care about, such as your children, other family members, and friends. There are going to be periods when you feel sadness, anger, and insecurity — and it will be at those times that you need your divorce support group the most.
3. Develop a fair and reasonable parenting plan.
If you have minor children, you will need to have a custody plan and an access schedule that is in your children’s best interest and allows each of you to have time with your children. Your lawyer or a parenting coordinator can explain what you should not do:
- speak badly about your partner in front of the children
- put children in the middle of a dispute
- give children decision-making powers that are not age appropriate
- introduce your children to a new partner when the timing is not right
4. Get control of your finances.
You need to have a complete list of the assets and debts held by you and your partner as well as the incomes each of you have from all sources. Find supporting documentation and give the entire package to your divorce lawyer as soon as possible. You also need to consider how you will earn money, where you can afford to live and whether you need additional income to take care of children. You may also need to update your Will, Enduring Power of Attorney, Personal Directives and life insurance, and beneficiary designations on other assets, such as pensions and RRSPs.
5. Collaboration, not confrontation.
The entire divorce process is financially and emotionally easier if both spouses work together on a mutually acceptable resolution with the help and guidance of a Family Law lawyer. Ask about a Collaborative Divorce, a good option for anyone who wants to avoid legal battles.
Learn more about your legal rights and options in a separation or divorce by requesting your free introductory consultation with a family lawyer in Edmonton at Coley Hennessy Cassis. You can contact us online or by phone (780-468-2551).