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Getting a divorce can be a tough decision to make. The divorce process can be complex and emotionally draining work that could take weeks, even months, to settle. But a family court may help settle any disputes between a married couple during a divorce.
However, there are a lot of things to consider before going through any legal separation process. Read on and discover what you need to know before filing a divorce application and other important information about the domestic contract.
Why Couples Get Divorced
Today, there are many reasons why couples choose to separate even after many years of marriage. Here are the main reasons married and common-law couples separate.
- Lack of commitment
- Conflict in the relationship
- Communication problems
- Lack of physical intimacy
- Verbal, physical, or emotional abuse
- Substance abuse
- One partner failing to carry their weight in the marriage
- Financial issues
5 Things To Do Before Getting a Divorce
There are several things you should do before you act on any thoughts you have about divorce. These steps are specific to Ontario divorce but can be applied to divorce in most provinces. It’s important to be certain that you have done what you need to accomplish to feel good about your decisions. Here are the top five things to do:
1. Talk to a Marriage Counselor or other professional who may be able to help you save your marriage.
Even if you don’t think there’s hope for your marriage or common-law relationship, “divorce counselling” can help you discover what went wrong, how to cope, and how to pick up the pieces and go on. And, you don’t have to wait for your spouse to participate to benefit from speaking with a counselor.
If you don’t know how to find a qualified counsellor, our firm will be glad to recommend one or you can check out the directory of professionals of the Ontario Association for Marriage and Family Therapy at http://www.oamft.on.ca/.
Your employment, social, or religious contacts might also provide recommendations.
2. Talk to a lawyer before you do anything.
Even if you don’t end up hiring a lawyer to handle your separation or divorce, you would be well advised to get as much information as possible before discussing divorce with your spouse. There’s a lot to know about divorce in Canada. Family laws, especially the Divorce Act, in Ontario are complex, and even the simplest situation can be very confusing to families already in distress.
Actions you take now may very well affect the outcome of your divorce (see #3), and you need to understand your options ahead of time, not some time down the road when it may be too late to alter the outcome.
With their help, you will have legal advice about decisions involving child support, spousal support payments, cohabitation, parenting plan, liabilities, parenting arrangements, family mediation, and other legal issues.
Click here to find lawyers in Toronto who are well versed in the intricacies of Ontario’s Family Law Act. Some law firms and family responsibility offices even offer free consultations and can talk to you about your legal rights during the divorce.
3. Do not move out of the marital home without talking to a lawyer first.
Leaving the house without a good reason may cause you to lose possession of the matrimonial home or child custody. If you leave the house, you may also be unable to return until after the division of property. This process could take more than a year.
The best advice is to stay in the house until after you talk with a lawyer unless your spouse is violent. If your spouse is violent, you must take all steps necessary to protect yourself and your children.
4. Take concrete steps to safeguard your assets before you and your spouse begin discussing divorce.
Protective measures you might consider in your divorce planning include: protecting your own credit rating by freezing or closing joint credit cards and by blocking your spouse’s access to financial information or other joint credit such as a home equity loan or lines of credit; and closing joint bank accounts and opening accounts in your own, individual name.
5. Make arrangements to see your children as much as you can
The courts, when awarding custody, will look to the status quo in order to provide children with stability. After the date of separation, if you intend on getting custody of the children, you must show the court that you want it and show that you can work with your spouse to arrange time with the children and make decisions.
After getting the divorce order or separation agreement, it is important to maintain a close relationship with your children and to remain equally responsible for them. This means scheduling your own time with them and arranging to attend school and doctor’s appointments.
When parties separate, sometimes a parent tries to limit the others’ time with the children to tactfully advance their case for sole custody. It is important to be aware of this. Be sure to consult any written agreement you and your ex-partner decided on to prevent this issue.
Know Your Rights During the Divorce Process
If you are certain you want to undergo a divorce, you will need the best legal professionals on your side. Reach out to Gelman & Associates to get the highest level of legal representation possible. The firm’s experienced divorce and family law lawyers can help you get the best outcome for your family troubles.
FAQs on The Things To Do Before Getting a Divorce
A divorce lawyer can help explain the grounds of divorce to their clients. During a divorce, they can provide legal advice, explain property division, account for marital assets, and determine spousal support. They can also negotiate settlement agreements and ligate your case in a family court if necessary.
When a court orders alimony, the spouse must pay it. Otherwise, they will have to face consequences. Your lawyer can initiate a contempt of court action in which your former spouse will have the opportunity to defend themselves. Some states also allow income withholding in which funds are automatically withheld from your former spouse’s paycheck.
It can take 12-18 months to finalize a divorce. If the case does not go to court, the process can be as easy as filing the divorce application and waiting for the judgment.