Get a Divorce

Where do I Start?

The answer to this question is dependent on where you are at with your situation.

If you want to get a divorce, there are some options available including Divorce Lawyers, Family Mediation, Self-representation or Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Start Here.

We have addressed some divorce situations, so you know where to start. If you cannot find your answer here, leave us a comment, and we will address it.

Below we address common Legal Concerns, Conflict and Trust Issues, Children’s Wellbeing, Assets and Financial Complexities.

Legal Concerns

We believe we need legal advice but do not want to hire lawyers to fight.

Most couples in Canada fall under this category. Getting good legal advice when it comes to divorce is prudent. However, to protect your rights, you do not need to fight it out with lawyers. Many are choosing alternative dispute resolution/mediation to negotiate all the issues and get matrimonial legal advice where and when needed.

We don’t think we need much of any legal advice because our case is straight-forward and easy.

Some cases are very straight-forward, and there is no reason to hire lawyers. By law, you do not need a lawyer to get divorced in Canada.

If you have dependent children, you must then demonstrate that you have their best interest in mind when you are applying for a divorce. Nevertheless, you can either go straight to divorce filing or get a straightforward separation agreement done either by doing it yourself or using a third-party service to help you.

I want to protect my legal rights, but I don’t want to fight.

Most people in Canada fall under this category. The laws are reasonably straight-forward so fighting it out with lawyers is not likely going to achieve a better outcome. However, educating yourself with the laws is beneficial to understanding your rights, negotiation and resolving your issues with confidence around money and children.

Divorce mediation and accounting firms can get you up to speed with all the legalities and usually at much lower cost than divorce lawyers.

I am with lawyers now, but it is getting messy and want to stop the fighting.

There are two things you can do. The first is, you both agree to get off the train wreck and move to an alternative divorce resolution service. This arrangement will require some careful navigation if there are proceedings in place. Secondly, if one party intends to continue with their law firm, you could do the brave and bold thing and fire your lawyer. Disengaging your lawyer and replacing that will self-representation is quickly becoming more popular and acceptable in the courts.

My spouse wants to hire a lawyer to protect him/her and will not consider an alternative dispute or mediation service.

In the past, the only option you had was to hire a lawyer in response. Today, it is your legal right to self-represent, and given the pressure from the Canadian population, the courts in Canada are making it easier and putting systems in place to support those who do not want to go through litigation and want to self-represent or use mediation.

Like most lawyers, divorce mediation companies typically offer the initial consultation at no charge. Unlike lawyers, mediation firms are unbiased and will seek to serve both parties equally protecting each of their interests. See if your spouse would be open to a 60-minute consultation. You can go together, or separately, but rest assured this is the future of divorce.

I want my spouse to pay for his/her bad behaviour and the lies, and I don't care what it costs.

If you want someone to reveal what you perceive is the “truth” about your spouse, then you are best suited for lawyers. With lawyers, you get to put all your viewpoints and facts into a notarized affidavit and try to prove to the courts that you are right. In this case, hiring a divorce lawyer is the best solution.

My spouse will not respond to me and is out of reach or the country.

This situation is unfortunate, but in the case where there is violence, a spouse is unreachable or will not cooperate in any way, then a divorce lawyer is a smart move as it may be your only option to get a divorce and support. Choosing the right divorce lawyer will bring you value.

We are living common law and we don’t know what our rights are.

Depending on what province you reside in, the laws covering common law are very different. Due to the complex nature of these relationships and the lack of clarity in some provincial laws, using lawyers can be more expensive than if you were married. Using an alternative where you and your partner can negotiate is a good idea. Given the complexity of the laws, receiving some legal advice during the process, if assets are involved, makes good sense.

Conflict and Trust Issues

I have not told my spouse.

Many people start to research divorce before they have told their spouse. How you tell your spouse can set the stage for a peaceful or conflictful divorce, so doing it right is very important. Unfortunately, there are many sketchy resources on how to do that.

Visit Fairway’s YouTube channel to get some great pointers on how to handle that conversation with grace and honesty.

My spouse does not agree with getting a divorce and is pushing back.

In Canada, if you want a divorce, you can have one. The question is not whether you can get a divorce but rather what will the process be. Understanding your options and the law is a good idea but rest assured, you can get a divorce. Perhaps focus on convincing them to use an alternative and let them know that if they refuse, then you will be forced to hire a lawyer and fight it out.

Visit Fairway’s YouTube channel and get tips on how to encourage your spouse to cooperate.

We are very conflicted.

Just because you are conflicted does not mean you need to fight and avoid alternative dispute resolution or mediation services. While traditional mediation models often do fail with conflicted couples, there has been a great deal of innovation in alternative dispute models that are designed to move each person through a process that deals with conflict and prevents it from increasing.

I do not trust my spouse.

Many people getting divorced feel this way. The good news is that you do not need to trust your spouse to make smart decisions about how to move through a divorce. A pragmatic and analytical approach to financial disclosure is what you need to ensure that assets, liabilities, taxes, and valuations are done so that property division can be accurately completed.

Children’s Wellbeing

We want to protect our children and co-parent together.

Children do not need to be victims of divorce. You can raise well adapted confident children when separated. The laws in Canada are designed to protect children first. Often failing to plan results in planning to fail, when it comes to positive co-parenting. While almost all families have joint custody, the focus can turn to residential care and a parenting plan.

We do not have children.

If you do not have children, then you may be able to file for divorce immediately. You can address all your property issues in either a full or condensed separation agreement, depending on the complexity of your assets.

Our children are grown up and no longer dependent.

If you do not have dependent children, as defined by the the Federal and Provincial Acts, then you may be able to move right into filing for divorce. This approach will depend on how long you have been living separate and apart. You can address all your property issues in either a full or condensed separation agreement, depending on the complexity of your assets.

Assets and Financial Complexities

We have complicated assets and finances.

In the case of complex assets, you may need a team of experts to value your assets and help you divide your property fairly and legally while protecting your wealth. Getting legal advice is prudent, but you do not need lawyers to negotiate financial deals, you need them to ensure that the agreement is drafted to reflect your intentions.

We have reasonably straight-forward assets and liabilities.

In the case where your assets are not overly complicated, then getting resolution on issues should not be difficult, as most numbers are reasonably straight-forward. Most couples in Canada fall under this category, and the good news is there are lots of ways to get this completed.

We do not have any assets or liabilities.

In the case, which is often the situation for younger people who have not been married for long, you can go right into filing for divorce. If you do have children, you will need a separation agreement. If you have other issues to resolve, you can do that with the assistance of a neutral third party.

We have a prenuptial or pre-marriage assets.

In the case where there is a prenup, one the first things to do is ensure you both agree with the terms of the agreement. Once that is established, then often the next steps are quite easy. Of course, the terms of the prenup can make the process of negotiation easy or difficult. If there was no prenuptial agreement, but there were pre-marriage assets, then using experts and getting legal advice is vital. Of course, receiving legal advice is different from hiring lawyers to fight it out.

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