Canadian divorce rates have been increasing more rapidly in the past couple of years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We’ve gone from 2.68 million divorcees in 2019 to now 2.74 million in 2021. (StatCan, 2022)
As a Chartered Financial Divorce Specialist, I have helped many clients navigate this process and thought it might be helpful to pass some of my experience along.
Navigating a marital breakdown is never easy. For most families, it is a perfect storm of stressful events which may include new living arrangements, co-parenting schedules, and decisions about property and money. The emotions caused by these changes often make it difficult to understand the process of divorce and may impair your ability to make sound decisions.
If you are contemplating a divorce here are some key things you should consider.
1) Check your emotions at the door
Many life-changing decisions will come up during your separation and divorce. Do your best to check your emotions at the door and make decisions when you are calm and have thought them through. When making important choices, it is essential that you consider both the short- and long-term ramifications.
If you are only trying to hurt your partner or make them pay it will hurt everyone. You will end up spending far more money on lawyers and court costs. More importantly, mental stress from fighting over all your assets can have a heavy cost.
2) You are getting divorced, but your kids are not
Divorces are typically more stressful when kids are involved. They love you both and should not have to take sides.
Try to reduce the emotional stress on your kids that comes from a divorce. Do not put them in the middle or share unnecessary details. Saying cruel things about your spouse in the presence of your children can have a lasting effect. Your children are smarter than you think and will form their own opinions as they age. Let them make their own decisions about the relationship they want with each parent.
You will be connected to your ex-partner through your children forever, so it is important for all of you to keep that relationship as civil as possible. You may want to consider counseling for yourself or your children to help you get through this challenging time. Many people have access to this through their Employee Assistance Program at work.
3) Decide on a Separation Date
You will need to decide on your separation date when you initiate a divorce. Valuations of assets between you will be based on your date of marriage and your date of separation. You can still be living together and legally separated.
4) Inventory List
Make a list of all assets, debts, and furnishings. You will need this as you move into equalizing everything you have accumulated during your marriage. If you have a pension at work, get it evaluated professionally.
You will need to know which assets or property you brought into the marriage and what the value of your assets was on the date of separation. If you have any art, jewelry, or items of significant value you may want to consider having them appraised.
5) Financial Considerations
- Work with your financial advisor on a cash flow plan to review your adjusted income and expenses
- Make sure you have a bank account and credit card in your own name
- Review and revise your Will and Power of Attorneys (POA’s)
- Get your legal/financial advice and guidance from professionals
Lastly, it is important to have reasonable expectations. Understand how the law applies to your case and have reasonable expectations about the outcome.
Many Chartered Financial Divorce Specialists (FDS) like myself offer financial guidance to current clients free of charge. If you are considering a divorce from your partner, feel free to contact us.