Ending a marriage is a serious decision that should never be taken lightly. The reasons for ending a marriage can vary from one couple to another. Nonetheless, it is a significant life event that can be emotionally and mentally taxing. It is for this reason that having a solid plan in place can help alleviate some of the stress and uncertainty that comes with ending a relationship.
While the decision to leave may be simple, the process of obtaining a separation and divorce can be complex and overwhelming. It is common for many people to be unsure of the differences between the two. A separation agreement outlines the terms of your separation, addressing issues such as division of property, parenting plans, child and spousal support. On the other hand, a divorce is the legal termination of a marriage.
In order to legally dissolve a marriage, a separation is required before obtaining a divorce. However, it’s important to note that ending a relationship does not necessarily require a divorce. Nevertheless, if your ultimate goal is to remarry, obtaining a divorce becomes a necessity.
The path you take when ending your marriage may depend on several factors, including how long you have been married. For instance, if you’re young and have been married for only a few years, you may have fewer assets and no children, unlike a couple who has been married for decades. Regardless of your situation, it’s vital to seek legal advice.
At Kurie Moore Law Group, we are always available to offer constructive and creative solutions to help you navigate the emotional and legal challenges that come with separation.
It’s wise to consult with a lawyer before separation, so you understand your rights and can prepare an exit strategy that won’t compromise your position moving forward. Practical strategies can also be discussed to assist you in these preparations.
Preparation is key
Divorce is a significant decision in one’s life, and it’s crucial to approach it with care and thoughtfulness. Once you’ve come to the realization that your relationship is no longer working, it’s time to start planning.
Consider not only the legal aspects of the divorce but also practical matters, such as where you’ll live and what belongings you’ll take with you if you’re the one leaving the marital home. Do you have a support system in place in case you need help? How will you manage your finances? And most importantly, what will happen with your children?
Ideally, you should take some time to plan before discussing your decision to end the relationship with your spouse. This will ensure that you’re not making any hasty decisions in the heat of the moment. Try to visualize what your life will look like after the divorce and how you can best prepare for it.
However, if you’re in an abusive relationship, extensive planning may not be possible. In this case, your safety, as well as the safety of any children involved, should be your top priority. Fortunately, the province of Alberta offers emergency funding for those escaping a violent relationship. Eligible individuals can receive help with expenses and other forms of support, including emergency transportation to a safe place such as a shelter or hotel if shelters are unavailable.
There are also other considerations that may not immediately come to mind, such as changing your will or beneficiaries. Seeking legal advice early on can help ease some of your concerns and ensure that you’re well-prepared for any legal proceedings that may follow.
Gather financial information
When it comes to ending a marriage, deciding how to divide assets can be one of the most challenging tasks. As a responsible parent, you are already accustomed to making decisions regarding your children’s well-being. However, determining how to divide your shared assets is equally crucial, and it is essential to approach this task with a clear head.
Gathering all the relevant financial information is the first step towards avoiding conflicts during the asset division process. This includes collecting bank account and credit card statements, investment details, and RRSPs. By having all the necessary documentation, you can prevent any misunderstandings or disagreements in the future.
In addition, collecting pension statements, automobile ownership documents, or evidence of personal assets such as artwork or jewelry can also be beneficial. It is equally important to document all debts, such as mortgages or lines of credit, to get a complete financial picture. If you brought assets into the relationship, it is crucial to have evidence of sole ownership.
Both you and your former partner have an obligation to disclose all relevant financial information in a sworn or affirmed statement. Providing false information or withholding important details is against the law and can have serious legal consequences.
To ensure a smooth and hassle-free asset division process, make copies of all important documents, no matter how insignificant they may seem. The more information you have, the better prepared you will be.
Remember that the goal is to approach this situation with empathy and understanding while ensuring that your rights are protected. By collecting all relevant financial information and having proper documentation, you can avoid an acrimonious divorce.
Date of separation
When a marriage or common-law relationship comes to an end, the date of separation becomes a crucial factor that affects several issues. To be recognized as legally separated, it is necessary to establish that you and your partner are living separately and apart with the intention of terminating the relationship.
It is worth noting that you can be considered legally separated even if you continue living under the same roof, provided you are not behaving as a couple. However, if you still share a bed, prepare and eat meals together, or maintain joint bank accounts, it could be challenging to prove that you are indeed separated.
If you wish to obtain a divorce, you must be separated for at least one year, unless you can demonstrate that your spouse committed adultery or has been physically or mentally abusive. This may include instances of violence, constant verbal abuse, excessive drug use, or alcoholism.
It is important to remember that in Alberta, you can resume your relationship with your spouse for up to 90 days during the separation period without having to start the one-year separation timeline again. The date of separation could play a critical role in matters of family property, especially if you were unmarried and separated before January 1, 2020.
You do not have to wait until the one-year separation period is over before starting legal proceedings or resolving issues such as parenting or the division of family assets.
Telling your spouse
Breaking the news to your significant other that you want to end your relationship is never easy. However, there are some important matters that you need to address, particularly if you have children.
The way you and your partner approach parenting decisions, including where your children will reside, how you’ll share parenting responsibilities, and how you’ll manage weekends, holidays, and vacations, is crucial. Additionally, you’ll need to decide if the children will still have access to other family members such as grandparents. Remember, any decision made by the court during your separation or divorce will prioritize the children’s best interests.
Another important topic to discuss is how you’ll divide any assets and debts you’ve accumulated as a couple. In the case of a shared property like your matrimonial home, you’ll need to decide if you’ll sell it and how you’ll divide the proceeds. Do you have the necessary funding to take over the debt associated with any assets you wish to keep? If you have a business enterprise together, you’ll need to decide if you’ll retain joint ownership or if one spouse will take full ownership. It’s also important to discuss whether or not one spouse will be entitled to support.
Although these are difficult and uncomfortable conversations to have, it’s crucial to approach them with an empathetic and understanding tone. The decisions you make now will have a significant impact on your future, your children’s future, and the rest of your family. It’s important to keep everyone’s best interests in mind and to seek professional help if needed.
We can help with your plan
In conclusion, ending a marriage can be emotionally and mentally draining, and having a solid plan in place can help alleviate stress and uncertainty.
Kurie Moore Law Group can provide constructive and creative solutions to help individuals navigate the emotional and legal challenges that come with separation. Seeking legal advice early on can help individuals understand their rights and prepare an exit strategy that won’t compromise their position moving forward. Please contact us now to schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers.