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Family Law Blog

How to Prepare for a Divorce in British Columbia

How to Prepare for a Divorce in British Columbia

Divorce is one of the most emotionally draining things an individual can go through in their life. Feelings like disappointment, anger, sadness and failure can prove overwhelming, and cloud one’s judgement when a clear head is needed to navigate several important decisions.

At Westside Family Law, we recommend our clients prepare thoroughly if they’re considering a divorce. What you do prior to the separation can lead to a more amicable divorce where both sides emerge in a positive state of mind.

Here are some simple actionable steps you can take in advance of a divorce to hopefully make the process easier on everyone involved.

Consult with a Family Law Expert

Divorce is a sometimes-complex legal process. It’s important you enter into the process understanding your rights, obligations, and how to ensure you’re protecting your interests to the full extent of the law. Working with a Family Lawyer that specializes in divorce ensures you understand important aspects like what documents are needed, how much the process will cost, and what the likely outcome is of property division.

Avoid the “Must Win” Mentality

A lot of people enter into a divorce like it’s a sporting contest. They adopt a mentality that makes them seek out wins. It’s needlessly confrontational, and sets both parties up to ultimately lose. Rather than focusing on ensuring you win, start the process with realistic goals. Here are some examples:

  •   I want what is best for our children
  •   I want us both to safeguard our financial security
  •   I want us to remain on good terms
  •   I want us both to have a roof over our heads
  •   I want a fair outcome for both of us

Adopting this approach is much more likely to lead to amicable and relaxed divorce proceedings, while also shielding any children from emotional harm.

Gather Relevant Documents

Exchanging financial documents is an important part of divorce proceedings. Preparing in advance will make this process less stressful. These documents help paint a picture for the court of each party’s financial situation. It brings clarity to certain decisions, and ensures neither party is left destitute as a result of proceedings. Here’s some of the documents and information you’ll be expected to provide.

  •   Your tax information for the previous three years (tax returns, notices of assessment)
  •   Bank accounts and credit card statements
  •   Documentation relating to ownership of assets
  •   Copies of loan agreements
  •   Property assessment notices
  •   Documents relating to parenting agreements

Put a Support Network in Place

Divorces can be overwhelming. You don’t need to navigate the process alone. Create a support network of professionals, friends and family that can help you shoulder the burden. No matter how strong you think you are, it’s recommended to speak with a counsellor to help navigate the strong feelings that tend to bubble to the surface. An accountant can assist with the financial aspect, while a Family Lawyer will provide ongoing legal support. Your family and friends are a huge asset during this time, make an effort to spend more time with them to help guard against feelings of loneliness.

Steer Clear of Social Media  

Any posts you make on social media during a divorce could be used as evidence during the proceedings. It’s also worth noting that any previous derogatory posts about your ex-spouse can be used. If you are concerned about how a post you made in the past may be perceived, consult with a family law lawyer before deleting the post. Avoid posting anything negative about your spouse, their new partner (if they have one), and avoid any posts showing you partying.

Get in Touch

If you have questions or concerns about navigating the divorce process, contact us today to speak with a lawyer. We are hard at work to ensure your best interests are safeguarded during this stressful time.