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Separating? Four mistakes to avoid

If you are preparing to divorce in Ontario, you likely have far more questions than answers. You may know you want to end your marriage, but you may not know the legal logistics involved. 

For instance, did you know that, in most cases, you must be living separately for one year before you can make an application for divorce? This period of separation in and of itself can come with many details you never considered. However, you can navigate this year more easily if you can avoid the following missteps:

  1. Assuming one of you must move out of the matrimonial home – Often, one person moves out of the matrimonial home once parties decide to separate. However, it is not necessary to do this. Spouses can set up individual bedrooms in the same house and still be separated if they maintain separate lives. 
  2. Failing to document the date of separation – The date of separation is critical to the application process and details, such as property valuation at the time of separation. To avoid confusion and delays in the divorce process, document the date you start living separately. An easy way to do this is to send an email to the other party, noting the separation date.
  3. Taking an informal approach to finances – In the year (or longer) between separation and divorce, spouses often continue to share financial obligations. Both people can still be liable for mortgage payments, child-related costs and credit card bills. To prevent confusion and financial misconduct, divorcing spouses should negotiate these matters. You can work with lawyers to create a separation agreement that addresses financial responsibilities and expectations.
  4. Failing to keep detailed records – Even if parties start this process amicably, arguments can arise during separation. To minimize the potential for miscommunication and conflicting stories, keep accurate records of your bills and correspondence between the two of you. You might also want to document any malicious or deceitful statements the other person makes on social media. 

These missteps can create conflict and result in disputes that take more time and money to resolve. As such, it will be advantageous to avoid them.

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