There are often a lot of worries, anger and unknowns following separation. But most importantly – don’t panic! The family law process doesn’t need to be adversarial and combative. We are here to help resolve your matters and to help you find peace, healing and resolution.
Family law and separation issues are common and can be resolved in many different ways – from mediation, collaborative legal options, formal negotiation though lawyers, arbitration, or through Court action. Each of these approaches has its place, and we will help you explore the best way to resolve family issues in a professional, and resolution focused environment.
We hope that our assistance can also let you put some worries or concerns behind you, and focus on a new and positive future.
These are some tips and Golden Rules we give to clients after separation
Here are a few guidelines:
- RESOLVE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE BY NEGOTIATION AND CONSENT
The more you and your spouse can decide upon yourselves, the better. This is the fastest, cheapest method of proceeding, and ought to be used on as many issues as possible. Equally important, you maintain control. It is much cheaper to have your lawyer prepare a Separation Agreement containing your terms than to litigate in court.
If you have to litigate, try to reduce the number of things you are fighting about. Keep talking settlement. More than 90% of family law disputes settle without trial in British Columbia. Parties who are able to settle early are often the real winners.
- REALIZE THAT WE NEED TO CHARGE FOR WORK DONE
Lawyer’s don’t sell a product – we sell ‘peace of mind’, through our expertise and experience in dealing with similar matters as yours.
Your lawyer will charge you for the time spent on assisting you, whether that is in appointments or waiting in court, travel, preparation of documents, phone calls and for sending and receiving emails to you and others involved in your case.
First of all, ask whether our administrative staff help you instead? Appointment requests, requests for copies of documents, and other non-legal queries can be answered by reception.
- FOCUS ON THE BIG ISSUES
Secondly, when it comes to legal matters, avoid the temptation to email or call over every issue that comes to mind. We have strict compliance requirements to professionally consider and accurately answer your queries, which can take time. Your 10 second email on a minor issue can result in our needing to do 30 minutes of work in preparing a response, which needs to be charged.
At a minimum, phone calls and emails are charged at 6 minutes time to view and then a further minimum of 6 minutes if we are required to respond – which can add up if you send a lot of emails to your lawyer.
- GET HELP FROM THE RIGHT PROFESSIONAL
Lawyers often don’t make great counsellors. If you feel bad, get help from your doctor or a professional counsellor. We care for you and your case but we are not trained as counsellors, and you may find a counsellor more cost effective and better at dealing with personal issues.
- KEEP IT BUSINESS-LIKE
Divorce is not the time for getting even, making him or her pay, etc. If you are angry with your spouse, deal with the hurt through a counsellor, not through the legal process. Court is an expensive and unfulfilling way to resolve anger or personal grievances. Be focused on resolution instead.
- TEMPER YOUR EXPECTATIONS
If you expect a reasonable result, you will get it faster. If you can be generous, do it. Let go. Take responsibility for yourself as much as possible. Think of the bigger picture. Do everything you can for yourself and your children.
OTHER WAYS TO HELP YOU THROUGH THIS PROCES
For All Matters – Protection Orders
If at any stage you feel at risk from a former partner or party to proceedings, do not hesitate to request Police assistance (dial 911). If you are concerned that your former partner may be a future risk to you or children in your care, you should attend your nearest Police station to apply for a peace bond. If Police refuse, please speak to us about other options.
For Children’s matters – Passport Alerts
Speak to your lawyer immediately if you have a concern that your former partner may be intending to leave Canada with a child and without your permission. It can be extremely difficult, and sometimes impossible, to have a child returned from certain countries. If you are concerned that an unauthorized passport application may be made on your child’s behalf, you may ask Passport Canada to add your child’s name to Passport Canada’s System Lookout List.
For Property matters – Time Limits on Property Settlement & Support Applications
Note that time limits apply for an application for property division, and financial support. Financial and property Court applications can be made any time after separation, but may be time-barred after 2 years from the date of either separation or divorce. This may result in a poor legal outcome, particularly if property is held in your former partner’s name. If you believe you are approaching a time limit, alert your lawyer at the very outset of retaining us.
Failure to divide property is also a common cause of dispute after separation. It is therefore very important that property division is acted upon promptly following separation.
For Property matters – Documents Required
Start collecting your financial documents. Full and honest disclosure of all assets is required by both parties. We will eventually need the following to resolve your property division:
- Last 3 years full tax returns and assessments.
- Details of any bank balances on the date of separation and at present date, including any mortgages or loan balances.
- Any RRSP and pension entitlement statements.
- Current income details (pay slips, etc).
- If applicable – business profit and loss details, and confirmation of business ownership details.
FINALLY – Other Help and Support
The following are a number of organizations that you can contact for further assistance:
- Police assistance – 911
- Parenting After Separation course – www.familieschange.ca or 1-800-663-7867
- Nanaimo Family Life – one on one affordable counselling – 250-754-3331
- The Men’s Centre – www.themenscentre.ca or 250-716-1551
- Haven Society Transition House – temporary women’s and children shelter – 250-756-2452
- Crisis Line (Available 24/7) – emergency support – 1-888-494-3888
- Credit Counselling Society – non-profit credit counselling and budgeting programs – www.nomoredebts.org – 1-888-527-8999
- Crossroads Crisis Pregnancy Centre – 250-716-1633
- Rainbows Nanaimo – support for children in separation – 250-751-7888
- Separation and Relationship Counselling – Ron Depner – https://www.islandcounsellors.ca or 250-616-3579
- Real Estate Free Valuations – Bernard Estes – 250.248.4321
- Joel Osteen – faith-based positive messages – www.joelosteen.com
These details are provided for reference only, based on prior client reviews. We do not receive compensation and are not affiliated with the services listed.
What If I need to Contact Someone about My Case?
The best way to contact us is by email (for routine matters), or phone (for urgent matters). Be aware that our lawyers are often involved in multi-day court or mediation sessions out of office, and legal responses can therefore be delayed.