• Charlotte Goldfried

Tips for Avoiding an Ugly Divorce

Are you thinking about a divorce? Statistics Canada tells us that approximately 40% of all marriages end in divorce. So, you are definitely not alone. I’m sure you have heard horror stories about the divorce process and the impact on the former couple, their kids and the extended family. Divorce can be an ugly and costly process, but it doesn’t have to be. There are things you can do. Here are some tips that will definitely help reduce or eliminate both the ugliness and costliness of separation and divorce.



1. Your first step should be to learn as much as you can. What does the law say about parenting, child and spousal support and division of property? So many people begin this process without taking some time to learn about their rights and responsibilities. They act on what their friends or family members have told them. Information is power. And armed with information, you are better able to navigate the process. So, make sure to read and to speak to professionals.


2. I recommend that you set aside funds for a therapist, both for yourself and your kids. No matter how amicable your separation and divorce are, it is an emotional experience. It helps to have someone in your corner. There are professionals who specialize in counselling adults, youth and young adults who are going through this process. Taking the time to make sure that your emotional health is being supported will reap huge returns throughout the separation and divorce process, both for you and your kids.


3. Get organized. You need to know about and understand your financial situation. What do you own? What do you owe? Do you have a pension? What do you earn? Did you come into the marriage with debts or assets? There are many financial questions that you will need to answer, so that you can prepare a fairly complex form about your worth. This form will be the basis for discussions and decisions about child and spousal support and division of property.


4. Serious consideration should be given to a non-litigious process. When this is possible, everyone benefits from working through their issues without having to resort to the judicial process. This may involve mediation and/or working with collaborative lawyers. Taking this path is often less costly and leaves significant room for creativity in dealing with and managing the process.


5. Finally, take some time to learn about how to communicate during this time, so that you are able to manage your anger and frustration. One of the critical problems with the separation and divorce process is that people generally go through it when emotions are high. We all know that when emotions are running rampant, we often make poor decisions. Unfortunately, most of us have to make critical decisions at this time, despite the fact that it is not the best time to be making decisions. Having a better understanding of how to communicate well, helps to diffuse anger, which often results in better outcomes for everyone involved.

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