By: Lorne Fine
Question: I am thinking about getting a Divorce from my spouse. What should I do? What are the first steps?
Answer: The first thing that should be done is become informed. It is incredible how many people have no idea about the financial situation of their family or their spouses. Gather as many documents as possible to substantiate your respective assets and liabilities as of the date of marriage and the date of separation (ie. bank statements, financial statements etc.). You should also make all necessary inquiries and obtain any relevant documents to substantiate your income and the income of your spouse. This is particularly the case when you know that child / spousal support will be an issue.
In preparation of meeting with your lawyer, you should organize all of your documents. It makes things much easier for your lawyer and saves you the expense of having your lawyer trying to decipher and organize your documents. I am always weary of the client that comes to our office with a shopping bag full of documents.
It is also helpful if you write a point form history of your relationship with your spouse. You should cover all important facts in regards to your relationship, including, but not limited to, the financial history (ie. roles assumed during marriage, work history, whether you received any inheritances during the marriage or major gifts etc.), children, etc. It is not necessary to write “War and Peace’. However, a short form history can be very helpful to allow you to gather your thoughts and experiences and give the lawyer information that you may forget during your meeting.
You should then find a lawyer. It is important to find a lawyer that you feel comfortable with. You are going to have to work with this person for some time. You will discuss matters on the phone and trade emails or letters. You will be a team together to resolve this difficult time in your life. There is nothing wrong with interviewing several lawyers. Most lawyers will provide consultations. Once you meet with a lawyer, it will give you a better sense of how you can and will collaborate together. It is important to find a lawyer that will do what you want him/her to do. It may be more appropriate to have a lawyer that is a good deal maker as opposed to one who is very aggressive and insists on going to court immediately. On the other hand, your spouse may be very aggressive and it may be necessary to have a lawyer who is able to stand up to your spouse and advance your claims. It depends on your circumstances.
Choosing a lawyer is an important decision. It may have a dramatic impact on how your case will proceed. However, it is important to remember that it is always possible to change lawyers if you are not happy.
The Lawyers of Fine & Associates Professional Corporation practice only Divorce and Family Law in Ontario. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of Divorce law, including, but not limited to, child support, child custody, and property division. They pride themselves on their knowledge of the various courts in Ontario and, have litigated many different cases. In every case, their focus is on their clients and they are dedicated to aggressively protecting their rights so that all matters are resolved quickly and fairly.
****The information herein is provided for information purposes only, is not intended as legal advice, and should not be relied upon as legal advice. If If you have any questions, regarding family or divorce law, please contact Lorne Fine at 416-661-2066 or [email protected] .com.