What You Need To Know Before You Separate

1. Make Copies Of All Your Financial Information

Sometimes, one spouse controls and manages the couple's finances. If you're considering separating from or divorcing your partner, make sure you have complete, legible copies of essential, relevant documentation, including the following:

  • Your bank statements and account numbers, both savings and checking
  • Credit card account statements
  • Mortgage account payments and loan information
  • Private loan account information, if applicable
  • Your pension plan and any other retirement account information
  • Investment account information
  • Your tax documents, including about three years' tax returns with all schedules and attachments
  • Corporate and trust records, annual financial statements, trust or corporate tax returns and lists of assets

You may be surprised at how quickly these documents disappear or account passwords change when the divorce process starts. At Westside Family Law, we are highly adept at tracking down key financial information and using electronic evidence when needed in our clients' cases, but it's an extra step we will need to take if this information has disappeared overnight.

Unfortunately, money problems remain one of the top reasons for divorce. Protect your right to an equal share of your marital assets by being prepared.

2. Don't Give Up Your Rights Because You Feel Pressured

Sometimes, it's just time to move on. Regardless of who filed the divorce papers, who "caused" the divorce or who let the relationship fall apart, the point is that you're here. Don't make conciliations under pressure to just "get it over with." Instead, you should proceed at a steady pace towards finalizing a proper written agreement that preserves your family's security and financial stability and your children's well-being.

This isn't to say that you should become obstinate unnecessarily and prevent a settlement by negotiation. We will help you understand and evaluate any proposals given your needs and your stated goals.

In all cases, we put your needs and priorities at the centre of our work.

3. Don't Use Social Media As An Outlet For Your Frustrations

The age-old advice against "airing your dirty laundry in public" has never been truer than in today's world of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. With a few taps on a keyboard or screen, your personal feelings can be broadcast to the world.

Increasingly, courts have been including online behaviour within their analyses of divorce proceedings. What you tweet or the pictures you post could be used to assess your parental abilities, your level of responsibility and your character in general.

We understand that the divorce process can be emotional and stressful, but the statements you make online can affect your divorce outcome. If you need to vent your anxiety or frustrations about your case, call a family member or close friend, or even us.

We'll advise you on how best to protect yourself and take what steps we can to protect your online reputation.

4. It's Still Emotional, Even If It's Amicable

Even if you and your spouse both know that your relationship is over, you will experience some degree of grief, anger, remorse, guilt and perhaps anxiety or depression. These negative effects will pass more quickly for some than for others. Professional divorce coaches, counsellors and psychiatrists are excellent resources to turn to for help with the psychological and emotional sides of things.

When you work with the lawyers and staff at Westside, we will listen carefully to you and be sympathetic to the stressors and issues of your case. Together, we will make a plan to resolve these efficiently so that you can move on.

We know you may be in a difficult spot now, so we focus on formulating strategies that help you move forward.

5. You Will Get Through This — And We Will Help You Do It

Your divorce case has an expiration date. It is our mission to ensure that when that day comes, you are in the best position to move on confidently. We're ready to help you take those first steps. To schedule a consultation with our lawyers, call our office in Vancouver at 604-800-8853 or contact us online.