What To Consider Before Getting a Divorce in Canada

When couples get married, divorce is usually the last thing on their minds. However, as time passes, they may find significant differences or encounter conflicts difficult to resolve. For this reason, many people opt for divorce after a certain period.
While it can be the best choice for some situations, it also involves immense stress on one's emotions, finances, and other resources. Therefore, it's essential to consider your options and circumstances before deciding to pursue a divorce.

This article will discuss the usual reasons for divorce and the factors one should consider before getting one.

Reasons for Divorce

The divorce rate in Canada has experienced a decline over the past decades. Between 2019 and 2020, there was a 25 percent drop in the number of divorces granted in the country. While this means fewer married couples are choosing divorce, it’s crucial to consider other factors.

Marriage breakdown is the main ground for divorce in Canada, and it can manifest in the following ways:
- Separation for at least one year
- Physical or mental cruelty
- Adultery

The breakdown of a marriage doesn't come overnight. Often, the cumulation of different disagreements and other factors gradually destroys the married couple's relationship.

Some common reasons for divorce in the country include the following:
- Lack of commitment
- Communication problems
- Differing attitudes around money
- Constant conflict
- Lack of intimacy
- Addiction
- Abuse
- Mental or physical illness

5 Things To Do Before Getting a Divorce

Divorce is a major life decision that can have lasting consequences. Not only will it affect you and your spouse, but it can also impact your children, friends, family members, and other relationships.
Before taking the final step, you must be well-prepared and consider all aspects of your situation. Here are five crucial things to do before getting a divorce.

1. Talk to a marriage counselor

Divorce finalizes the dissolution of your marriage. Before proceeding, it's often a good idea to explore whether there's any possibility of saving the relationship.
A marriage counselor can offer a neutral and supportive environment for spouses to express their concerns, feelings, and frustrations concerning the relationship. They can offer advice to help improve communication and resolve conflicts within and outside the marriage.

Even if you decide to go through with the divorce, a counselor can still be beneficial. They can help you process your feelings and suggest healthy coping strategies.

2. Talk to a lawyer

Divorce in Canada falls under the Divorce Act. The law outlines the conditions for divorce, child support, spousal support, division of property, and other pertinent concerns.

While a lawyer isn't necessary for separation or divorce, their presence and services can be helpful.
An experienced lawyer can provide guidance on your legal rights and responsibilities. They can help you understand divorce laws, especially the specific regulations within your province or territory.

Divorce can be frustrating, especially if you and your spouse are not on good terms. Consulting a divorce lawyer allows you to protect your rights, especially when gaining child custody and protecting your assets.

3. Safeguard your assets

Divorce can have significant financial implications, especially if you have built up assets throughout your marriage. Divorce could affect ownership or control of these assets. For this reason, protecting your financial and material resources is vital.

Some ways you can protect your assets when considering divorce include the following:
- Collecting financial documents: Gather financial papers like bank statements and tax returns. These records can be helpful in the divorce process.
- Opening individual accounts: Instead of relying on joint bank accounts, create individual accounts. If you are sure about getting a divorce, you can close your joint accounts and shared credit cards.
- Reviewing your will or estate plans: Review these plans and documents and update them to reflect your current circumstances. You may want to change the beneficiaries on your will and insurance plans.

4. Spend time with children

The divorce process does not only change your relationship with your spouse. It can also have significant effects on your children and their well-being. For this reason, it's important to prioritize their needs with each step you take throughout the separation and divorce process.

This step is crucial if you want decision-making responsibility or custody of your children after finalizing the divorce. If the court sees that you can provide your kids with their basic needs and stable family life, you are more likely to receive custody.

5. Set your goals

Before filing your divorce papers, visualize what you want to achieve out of the process. What is your life going to look like after? You can talk to a divorce lawyer to discuss your options, especially regarding parenting and asset distribution.

If you are still on speaking terms with your spouse, you can involve them in this step. Discuss your options with them and see if you can reach an agreement.

Divorce is never easy. It can be physically, emotionally, and financially taxing for all parties involved. It's essential to take some time and consider whether it is something you are ready for and want.

Thinking about the factors discussed above can help you understand how divorce can affect your marriage, resources, and other relationships. Whether you decide to proceed with it or not, this period of self-reflection can help improve your approach toward your spouse and family.

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Posted - 09/18/2023