Going through divorce can be extremely daunting. During such an emotional time, it can be difficult to know where to start.
Our family lawyers help many families through divorce proceedings and understand it can be confusing going through it for the first time. For those that may be trying to initiate a divorce or are considering filing, here are four steps to keep in mind as you undergo the process.
If you or someone you know has a question surrounding divorce and family law, visit our contact page or give us a call at (604) 330-1777.
When filing for divorce, the first step is to determine whether you can file. You need to educate yourself about The Rules around divorce. For example, you must be “separated” for at least one year before the court will grant the divorce. The Rules also outline deadlines for when and how you can file. It can be intimidating to try and decipher this information alone, so seeking out a family lawyer early can be very helpful.
2. Keep Track of Assets
Keep your financials assets and liabilities in mind. It’s very important to protect your interest in family property. The court will be hesitant to grant a divorce until all issues such as parenting, child support, spousal support, and property division have been resolved either through negotiation or litigation.
3. Consider Mediation
Not all divorce cases require court. The Government of British Columbia advises mediation under several circumstances, one being when “All parties to the dispute are willing to meet and try to settle it” (Government of BC, 2021). This is not appropriate for all divorce filings, so we suggest contacting a family lawyer to see if negotiation or mediation would be an option for your case.
4. Know Your Budget
Keep your budget in mind when considering divorce, as legal fees can be very expensive in the long run. The Government of British Columbia also recommends mediation when “Other options for resolving the dispute are too expensive or too slow” (Government of BC, 2021). This may be another reason for why you choose mediation or negotiation, instead of taking your case to court. When you negotiate with respect to your issues and file for a contested divorce (a divorce where both parties want to separate, but can’t agree on all issues themselves), it saves legal fees, court fees, and the extra stress around litigation.
For more tips on divorce, read our feature in the December/January 2022 issue of West Coast Families Magazine. Find a copy in print, or follow the link at westcoastfamilies.com.