One of the most commonly asked questions of the divorce and family law lawyers at Hart Legal is “What can I do to prepare for my divorce/separation?” Once the decision has been made to separate, it can be difficult to know the next steps to take and the process can be overwhelming. Hart Legal is here to help and we can guide you through the process of your divorce or separation in your family law matter. Taking the following steps can help to speed up the process and also reduce your legal costs associated with your divorce or family law separation.
1. Prepare your financial disclosure
In family law and divorce proceedings both parties are required to provide documentation of their complete financial picture of all assets and debts in sole or joint names. Start early as one of the most time consuming parts of a family law separation or divorce is compiling this information. Required documents include, but are not limited to:
• Income Tax Returns and Notices of Assessments for the past 3 years
• Recent pay stubs
• Bank Statements
• Investment Statements
• Property valuations or appraisals
• Credit Card Statements
• Mortgage and Loan Statements
• Pension Statements
These documents are required to determine child support, spousal support and division of property.
2. Keep the kids out of it
Divorce and family law disputes are more complicated if there are children involved. The most important thing to remember is that as a parent, it is your job to try and insulate the children and make sure they are not put in the middle of the conflict. The children must be your priority. Don’t argue or fight in front of the children as this can cause long-term damage. Attend a Parenting After Separation Course to learn about the impact that your divorce or family law separation will have on your kids.
3. Try to minimize conflict
This can be difficult, especially if there has been a complete breakdown in the relationship. Keeping things as cordial as possible will not only make things easier on both of you, but will also reduce your legal fees. If you have children, you will be dealing with your former spouse or partner until the children are 18 years of age, or later if they attend post secondary schooling. This will be more difficult if your relationship is high conflict.
4. Find a support system
Divorce and separations are difficult. It is one of the most stressful events that a person can face. You shouldn’t have to go through this process alone. Find some supportive friends or family members that you can turn to during this difficult time. It is important that your support system is just that. You want people who are on your side and who will assist you but will also tell you if your behaviour is getting out of hand. People who cause further conflict will only inflame the situation, especially if there are children involved. Seeing a counsellor can also be very helpful and can assist you with the emotional side of the breakdown in your relationship.
5. Hire a good lawyer
The type of lawyer you hire will set the tone for your divorce or family law separation. Make sure you hire a lawyer with experience in divorce and family law as it is very important that your counsel knows the law and legal issues. An experienced lawyer can guide you through the many factors, laws, guidelines and options in a cost effective manner. At Heart Legal, we strive to produce the best results for our clients. We have experienced lawyers who can assist you in all issues arising in your divorce or family law dispute.
Contact the lawyers at Hart Legal at our offices in Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary or Surrey if you are thinking about a divorce or separation or are already involved in the process. Our lawyers can provide you with the help you need. If you have questions about your divorce or separation contact our office today to schedule an appointment.