I'm worried that this divorce is going to ruin me financially. Any tips?

Understanding your expenses and controlling your spending are just two ways you can avoid being bankrupted by your divorce. Click to read the rest of the tips about avoiding being financially ruined by divorce.

By Laura E. Fryer
November 13, 2008

"I'm worried that this divorce is going to ruin me financially. Do you have any tips to prevent this?"

This is a question that we lawyers often hear early on. There is no question that separation and divorce are stressful and that managing the associated financial aspects can help you alleviate some of that stress.

Tip #1: Understand and Control Your Expenses. You may have been responsible for managing the household and other finances during your relationship, in which case, this may be easier for you. However, many spouses only truly appreciate the full extent of their "operating budget" after they separate. There are many excellent financial planners and financial divorce specialists who, along with your lawyer, can assist you in understanding both past and future finances.

Tip #2: Be Prepared to Adjust Your Lifestyle. It is cheaper to live as a couple than to live separately, particularly when it comes to housing expenses. If you can accept early on in the separation process that this lifestyle adjustment will occur, you may be able to reach a resolution with your spouse more quickly and less expensively.

Tip #3: Control your Legal Expenses. The cost of lawyers and the lack of control over the legal process is a great concern to many separating spouses. While legal costs can be expensive, there are a number of things you can do to control them:

  • Be clear with your lawyer what your goals and expectations are.
  • Ask your lawyer to provide you with ranges of the costs associated with various proceedings before you commit to them.
  • Be prepared for all meetings and other events.
  • Try to do as much background work (i.e., document collection) as possible yourself.
  • Recognize that your lawyer's job is to provide you with legal advice. Be prepared to use other professionals who have a more appropriate skill set if necessary, such as counsellors and therapists as well as accountants and valuators.

Tip #4: Be Flexible! Change is certain, but with change comes the opportunity for a fresh start.

About the authors of this Ontario Family Law FAQ:

Laura E. Fryer and Heather McGee are partners with the family law firm McGee & Fryer in Markham, Ontario. They can be reached at (905) 940-1598. View the Divorce Magazine profile for Ontario Collaborative Divorce professionals.

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November 13, 2008
Categories:  FAQs

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