Top 5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Decide to Separate

Photo by Wolfgang Zenz

family law lawyer vancouver separation divorce

The breakdown of a relationship is extremely difficult and involve a lot of questions.

Here are the top 5 questions you should consider when separating.

  1. Have there been any incidents of family violence?
    • Any incident of family violence, toward anyone in the household, must be reported to the police
    • If no police intervention but there is fear of violence, see a lawyer about a protection order
    • This will lead to a separation with the perpetrator of violence having to leave the family home and having no or only supervised contact
  2. Have you and your spouse tried counselling?
    • Marriage or couples counselling can identify the key problems and help couples use strategies to resolve these problems – find a counselor you can work with; not everyone ‘clicks’ with everyone
    • Especially where children are involved, if a relationship can be saved, it is better for everyone, emotionally and financially
    • Both spouses have to be willing to commit to the time and effort involved to make counselling work. If counselling cannot save the relationship, it may still help prepare the spouses to work together toward an acceptable settlement
  3. Are you able to support yourself (and your children)?
    • Do you earn your own income?
    • Do you have savings or access to funds?
    • You are entitled to at least half of the family assets (property, bank accounts, RRSPs, investments, etc.). How much is liquid or quickly accessible as cash?
  4. Do you know your family financial situation?
    • Does your spouse have separate accounts, investments, business interests? What do you know about them?
    • Are you always involved in financial decisions, i.e. property purchases, vehicle or equipment purchases, obtaining loans, lines of credit, mortgages, life insurance or annuity purchases?
    • Are you involved in doing your own tax returns or does your spouse and his/her accountant deal with this every year? Are you asked to simply sign ‘here’?
  5. Are you and your spouse able to communicate at a mature adult level, if not amicably?
    • Separation is often a surprise to one spouse which can create an angry emotional reaction making settlement difficult. How mature is your spouse?
    • If separation is unlikely to be a surprise to your spouse, do you feel able to sit down and discuss the terms of separation with him/her before you actually separate?
    • There is always a myriad of feelings surrounding separation: guilt, grief, anger, sadness, vengefulness, fear – if couples counselling is not possible or likely, would you consider personal counselling to help you deal with your own feelings and develop your own strategies as you move forward?

Contact us if you need help in this difficult and emotional time.

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