What You Need To Know About Divorce Before You Start

Most people have a concept of what divorce is like, but it's usually based off movies or popular TV dramas. Here are five things you should know about divorce:

1. Make Copies Of All Your Financial Information

Though perhaps a dying stereotype, usually one spouse controls or at least pays the most attention to the couple's finances. If you're considering divorce, make sure you have copies of:

  • Your bank statements and account numbers, both savings and checking
  • Credit card statements
  • Mortgage payments and loan information
  • Private loan information, if applicable
  • Your pension plan and any other retirement account information
  • Investment account information
  • Your tax documents, especially recent tax returns

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 within our clients' cases, but it's an extra step if this information has disappeared overnight.

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

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

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 to just "get this over with" or to make up for whatever you thought you might have done wrong. Instead, you want agreements that preserve your financial stability and, if you have them, your children's well-being.

This isn't to say that you should become obstinate unnecessarily. We will help you understand what a good compromise looks like 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 will be broadcast to the world.

Increasingly, Courts have been including statement made on social media and 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 sense of responsibility and your character in general.We understand the divorce process can be emotional and stressful, but the statements you make online can affect your divorce outcomes. 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, it may still hurt emotionally. The fact that you're getting divorced doesn't mean that the previous years haven't mattered or that they had no impact on you.

While we are here to help you navigate the legal landscape, we also understand this is a difficult time. We offer our advice with empathy and compassion, seeking resolutions that will help you move forward.

We can put you in touch with professional counsellors, if that's what you need. Of course, our lawyers are always here to listen.

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. There may be instances when you need our help again, such as to modify your agreements or review your support orders. That's normal. But for now, we're ready to help you take those first steps.

We can meet you at whatever crossroads you find yourself and guide you on the right path forward.

To schedule a free consultation with our lawyers, call our office in Vancouver at 888-49-0761 or get in touch online.