Tips for moving your divorce, separation agreement or family law dispute to resolution.
1. Legal advice.
Find out your rights and obligations under the law. Learn appropriate ranges of settlement.
Are you within that range? What factors put your case at the high or low end of the range, or change the range?
Have you disclosed all financial information? Often it is missing financial disclosure that holds up “getting it done”. Make sure you are not holding up the process. Talk to your lawyer about how to overcome missing disclosure by the other person (court, questioning, etc).
3. Other information?
What other information do you need to make an informed decision? What information does your “ex” need to make an informed decision? How can this information be shared? (Example: house appraisal, tax advice; financial planner, parenting education.)
4. Counselling and Support
Are you ready?
Reaching out to a counsellor can help you be ready to resolve, to move ahead in your new life.
5. Fresh approach or 2nd opinion
As time goes on, the facts may change, your goals may change, and sometimes the law changes. Seeking a second opinion or having a “fresh look” can change the dynamic and move everyone toward resolution. The past dynamic does not have to continue.
For example, the types of issues that may have come up with a parenting schedule for a toddler, may no longer be significant with a 6 year old. A history of court applications can move to a mediation forum. Or, it could be time to move from lengthy negotiations to a decision: court or arbitration.
Ask about all the processes out there to help get this done: DRO (dispute resolution officer), court assisted resolution, court, collaborative family law, mediation, arbitration. There are many options, and some can be tailored to your price point and issues.
7. Decision Time
Reflect on your goals, your facts, the law and the legally appropriate ranges of settlement.
Take time to weigh the legally appropriate options with time, cost, and personal motivations.
Would I rather get it done this month and be paid my share on the home’s appraised value, or list the house for sale and perhaps receive more money, but later?
Talk to your lawyer about where the file is and where you’d like it to be. When looking at the legally appropriate settlement ranges, be creative. How can we make an offer that works for me AND works for my ex? What will it take for me to say “yes” or my ex to say “yes” to a resolution? At what point do we need a decision-maker, and what is the most efficient way to get there (court, arbitration)?
– Written by Ceri Chwieros