Steps Towards Separation and Divorce

Disclaimer — we are lawyers, but we are not your lawyers.

Separating from your spouse is a major life decision, and the process surrounding it is ambiguous at best. Whether you’re in the early stage of your decision to separate, or already in the throws of a complicated situation, figuring out the steps you need to take to pursue the decision to leave can be overwhelming. Our dedicated team at DV Law is committed to easing our clients’ concerns through these challenging times. When considering this major life decision, your safety and security are a priority, and we encourage you to consider the following:

Ensure you have secure access to the information you need. If your family’s administration is lumped into one ecosystem, it is wise to consider separating out the parts you need. This can look like changing passwords to personal accounts; downloading and saving important documents to a personal computer or phone; or ensuring you have access to a private phone number, for example.

Finances play a big role in legal separation and divorce, and if this is the avenue you wish to pursue, it’s best to get those finances in order. Having copies of your bank statements, pay stubs, tax returns and notices of assessments is important for your personal administration, but also crucial to provide to your legal counsel in the event you need to retain representation. While staying on top of personal finances is a good habit for everyone, it can become an incredibly valuable tool as you move into a life after separation or divorce. Have a plan, and work towards having the financial security to execute that plan. Parts of a plan to leave that can incur unforeseen costs include moving, setting up and settling home/auto bills, court costs, and of course legal fees.

Retain counsel. This seems like an obvious step, but working with a lawyer as early into the process as possible is crucial to setting up your family for success. A family lawyer will be able to walk you through what your options are, help you see what your entitled to, and navigate you through the pieces you may not have considered. Not all separations or divorces are created equal, and unfortunately some reasons for separating require more legal intervention than other reasons. Couples may need suggestions around counselling options or parenting resources; alternatively, they may need expertise surrounding a lengthy police history, or immigration complications. Each circumstance is unique. Having a lawyer can seem like a serious step to take, and many find the process of calling lawyers intimidating. Family lawyers are equipped to advise you on how to proceed in an emotional situation in ways that will benefit you in the long-term. Their familiarity with the precedents set in the law, with the bureaucratic processes, and with the judges making the decisions means they can guide you towards a more favourable outcome than what you may think is possible.

Protecting yourself physically, creating a safety net financially and obtaining counsel are suggested first steps towards a more secure life post-separation. If you have questions for our lawyers about separation or divorce in Ontario, give us a call at 416-915-4136 and set up your free fifteen-minute consultation.

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