A Fast and Amicable Divorce Is The Best Outcome For Your Future
Divorce is difficult. While couples divorce for many reasons, most desire to make it as easy as possible, even if they have hard feelings for the other party. While reduced costs and conflict remain a priority, many are in a completely different situation than planned. They ponder how long a divorce can drag out. Unfortunately, the answer is very long if you are not careful about the actions you take and the decisions you make. Years of research have concluded that the best time to set the proper direction of your Divorce is at the very beginning when reasonably cool heads can prevail. Making decisions, one step at a time is the best way to achieve a better divorce resolution with a Separation Agreement and Divorce Application.
How to Separate or Divorce Amicably, even if you disagree?
Step 1: Understand that the divorce laws in Canada are “no-fault.”
This means who did what to whom, including cheating, stealing, lying, or mental abuse, is irrelevant. Yup, it does not matter. The financial outcome of the division of your assets and the calculation of child support and spousal support are indifferent to why you are getting divorced. Step one is understanding that Divorce is about making decisions concerning money and your children. Finding yourself in the throws of family law with a divorce lawyer without considering the road ahead may result in negative consequences.
Step 2: What does an Amicable Divorce or Separation look like?
Often, people equate the term amicable Divorce with an uncontested divorce. The term uncontested Divorce means that you both agree that you want to get divorced. It does not mean you settle on material items like finances and raising your children. An amicable divorce is best achieved when both parties are focused on making sound decisions concerning property division, spousal support, child support and child custody. The only way to accomplish this is to keep the motions out of decision-making and engage a company that does divorce mediation but has experts on both financial and parenting matters.
Step 3: Do your research for options to move through Divorce. Focus on understanding how to reach a fair, uncontested Divorce Agreement.
Knowing where to start is challenging as you want to feel protected legally. Generally, this is the list of the ways that you can choose to move through Divorce:
- You each hire a lawyer -the family lawyer acts on your behalf to negotiate the terms of your divorce and separation agreement.
- Collaborative law – is when the two lawyers you hire agree not to litigate. If you cannot resolve it peacefully between the lawyers you have, you’ll have to hire a new set of family and divorce lawyers and start all over again. This can be a very costly process and has fallen out of favour.
- Mediation/Arbitration (Med/Arb) – this is when you hire one person who agrees to mediate but if they cannot resolve it through mediation, they will move to arbitrate. To arbitrate means they are acting as the judge and jury and will make all final decisions. Buyer, beware of this process: you will not likely be wholly forthcoming or honest if you know that the mediator you’re talking to will be able to use it against you when they are coming up to the final judgment.
- Interest-based mediation is a traditional form of divorce mediation where a mediator has the two parties in a room and moves the parties to joint decision-making based on each party’s interests. Typically, interest-based mediation is performed by mediators with a background in psychology. The downfall with this method is that if there is a power imbalance or one party communicates better, the outcome could slant the outcome in one person’s direction. Also, this process is not run by financial experts.
- Independently negotiated resolution (INR) – this is a process which takes people separately through all the steps towards achieving a divorce settlement. The process is analytical by nature and ensures that emotions do not interfere with sound decision-making. INR family mediators are those with a solid financial background and surrounded by family lawyers and parenting experts. website or a blog that talks about the different ways to get a divorce I’ve written on this many times)
Step 4: Learn What Type of Legal Representation You Should Choose?
When getting a divorce and having a separation agreement drafted that addresses property division, spousal and child support, you will want to make sure that the agreement not only satisfies the letter of the law but is in your best interest and protects your rights. There are a number of ways to accomplish this, which may or may not include getting legal advice. However, to ensure that you fully understand the contents of your agreement, having a family lawyer review it before you sign it is smart. Choosing to hire a lawyer to negotiate your terms is not necessary as long as you are working with a team that includes financial divorce financial experts as well as parenting advisors for child custody. The best use of your lawyer is for actual legal advice with regards to your contract and not for negotiating your terms. The Federal Divorce Act sets a child and spousal support, and the individual provinces have their own Family and Property Acts, which sets out the division of assets.
Step 5: Always Start with Mediation
It is recommended by the courts that all parties start with mediation. Mediation is non-binding; therefore, as long as you did not sign up for mediation/arbitration, there is zero risk. Mediation is inexpensive and amicable, plus your outcome will be better through a mediation platform than going to court or fighting with lawyers. Worst case scenario, if you cannot get resolved through mediation, you can always go to lawyers. The key here is to do your research, as mediators are very different, and skill sets and processes will determine the outcome in most cases. Ask them before you hire them how many have they resolved on their own without needing the assistance of lawyers.
Step 6: Understand family law as it applies to your legal rights around custody, parenting, property division, spousal support and child support.
Education is key. Of course, the Internet is a great place to do general research, but be careful that the information you are getting is not biased or based in the US. Regardless of what process you decide, demand that whoever you are working with spends time educating you on the laws. Ask them this question: “If you were representing my spouse, what would you tell them?” This will give you a great insight into whether or not you are being set up to fight. This will only cost you time and money.
Step 7: Be clear that there will be a give and take.
Taking a demanding position on anything will result in a long-drawn, out-divorce process with an outcome that will not likely give you any better separation agreement than if you have been fair and open to compromise.
Step 8: Create a positive co-parent and custody agreement, and if you have both been civil during the divorce process, you can remain friends after the breakup.
You are looking for a plan, not just a custody arrangement. In today’s world, we call it a parenting plan; previously, we spoke to residential care and child custody. Regardless of what you call it, what you are looking for as a parent is a plan focused on how you will raise your kids together. Whether or not you are amicable today, there will be times of conflict. It is essential to contemplate as much as you can during the separation process so that your separation agreement can address what is most important. When hiring a mediator, ensure they can provide this for you. Family lawyers will typically not delve deeply into this area as they are more focussed on residential care and legal rights.
Step 9: Self Care during your Divorce with Open and Honest Communication is key to reaching a fair, uncontested or contested divorce agreement
The key during your Divorce is to be the best person you can be – take the high road. While it is hard to ignore your spouse’s behaviour, particularly if you consider it in bad faith, the only person you can control during this process is yourself. Asking for help from either your friends, family, or professionals does not mean you’re weak. In fact, it is the opposite as self-awareness will help you move to a divorce settlement and separation agreement that, if done correctly, can lay the groundwork for your future and start you on your new beginnings. Check out Conscious Uncoupling by Katherine Woodward Thomas to get some ideas of a positive way to move through.
Step 10: Hold your advisor accountable to achieve a amicable divorce and reduce cost and reduce conflict
When you hire a professional to help you through your Divorce and achieve your separation agreement and divorce settlement, demand accountability for every decision and action.
There is no excuse for your Divorce to become the battleground and feed anybody else’s financial pockets. It is in the best interest of you and your family to stand your ground when something does not feel right or you were pushed in a direction that you know will call chaos. When any advisor gives you advice, take the time to ask probing questions to ensure it’s the direction you want to take.
Start focusing on your future.
The past is the past, and that is where it belongs.
Leave the past in the past. Please do not use the divorce process as a battleground but instead use it selfishly as a foundation for your positive new beginnings.
For a roadmap to create your new beginnings check out Divorce for Women – creating a great life active Divorce and or Divorce for men creating an extraordinary life after Divorce.
There is light at the end of the tunnel, and you can amicably move through your Divorce with your integrity and self-esteem left intact.