6 tips for a smooth separation
Navigating new beginnings can be challenging, especially when it happens within the family unit. Whether it be a spouse starting a new job, a parent taking time off work, or a child going to school for the first time, all familial changes are difficult to maneuver. And when a family starts to go through big changes, like a divorce or separation, the stakes are much higher.
Unfortunately, not all separations are easy. Coquitlam-based law firm, Clark Woods LLP, specializes in family law (amongst other areas). To help you navigate the road to divorce, they have shared six ways to help make your marital separation as smooth as possible.
1) Keep your assets and budget in mind.
Be prepared to not only have contention over child custody, but also family assets. Generally, the court will not grant an order for divorce until all issues (such as parenting, child support, spousal support, property division, etc.) have been resolved either through negotiation or litigation. This process can be long and costly, so be prepared to give up the items that don’t truly matter and work within your budget. Find out what you or your partner have to divide, what you can let go versus what is rightfully yours, and make a plan of action with your lawyer. Remember: spending $2,000 in court fighting over a $50 microwave isn’t worth it.
2) Consider mediation.
Divorce doesn’t have to be messy. Not everyone needs to argue, nor do they have assets or children to argue over. Ask your lawyer about alternate routes, such as negotiation or mediation, instead of filing a claim in court right away. You may find that there are other options that are better suited to your specific needs.
3) Have a support strategy.
Both child and spousal support are the critical pieces in divorce and often cause the most fighting and controversy. Child support is generally straightforward, but spousal support can cause many issues (especially if one spouse isn’t employed, is a student, or works part-time earning very little income). The individual that earns little to no income must have a strategy in place for future expenses. In these cases, seeking out a lawyer immediately is imperative. Couples forget that even if they aren’t legally married, both parties can still apply for spousal or child support as long as they are in a marriage-like relationship and have lived together for a minimum of two years, or have a child.
4) Communicate with your soon-to-be ex.
Communicating with your ex-partner is the most important thing when it comes to separation or divorce. Through communication, both parties are more likely to work together and can go through the process cordially. However, this is not always the case. If you can no longer communicate with your ex, do you have someone in your network who can on your behalf? Seeking legal representation right away is the best thing to do when communication is no longer possible.
5) Hire a professional that’s right for you.
When looking for the right family lawyer to handle your legal matters, search for someone who will be an addition to your support system. Do your research, conduct an interview, and make sure this person is the right fit for you. You may need to find a lawyer who speaks more than one language or has flexible working hours and meeting locations. When going through something as difficult as divorce, you want your lawyer to be a member of your team, with compassion and respect for your situation.
6) Seek a counsellor in addition to a councillor.
Although a lawyer is extremely important when going through a divorce, so is a registered therapist. There are many professionals who are ready to guide you through this new phase of life and are equipped with the tools to do so. Not all law firms know when to draw the line, and some find it hard to separate the councillor from the counsellor. It’s crucial to seek out additional services that will help you and your family seamlessly transition into your new beginning.