Family Law...No Divorce is a Good Divorce

Mary Jane McGinty – March 2017

No divorce is a good divorce, but when it is inevitable, there are strategies that can make it less painful for the parties, their children, and their extended families. Here are ten commandments for a civilized divorce:

  1. Exhaust all options before pulling the plug. Marriage counsellors do enjoy some success, and everything that happens with a marriage counsellor is privileged.  Obviously, this is a step that should be taken early on, before damage is done in the process.
  1. Hire a lawyer early on in the process as well. You can bring your lawyer up to speed, and tell him or her to wait until all other options have been exhausted before taking any action.
  1. Make sure your lawyer is experienced in family law, not simply doing divorces “on the side”. A family lawyer will have numerous resources at his or her disposal to assist you in navigating the process.
  1. Gather as much information as you can to bring to your lawyer. This would include tax returns, statements of investments and debts, bank statements, etc.
  1. Make sure you have appropriate emotional support. This is one of the hardest things that you will face in your entire lifetime, and you should not go it alone.  It will be much easier for your lawyer to do his or her job knowing that you have appropriate emotional support.
  1. Understand that the children are not oblivious to what is going on. The children can feel guilty about a divorce, believing that they had some part in it.  Advice from a qualified child psychologist can be very helpful in both supporting the children, and arriving at a parenting plan.
  1. Keep the children out of the fight.
  1. Consider mediation as an alternative to litigation.
  1. Remember that there are things more important than money.
  1. Stay out of Court if at all possible. The court process, while essential in some cases, will take away your control of the situation, and your involvement in the resolution.  Litigation is extremely stressful.  If you have no other options, be sure that you have an experienced litigator working for you.
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